TCU Horned Frogs vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Date and Time: Thursday, March 30, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
College Basketball Odds
TCU vs. Georgia Tech TV Coverage: ESPN
The Horned Frogs looked down and out trailing 29-19 with just over five minutes remaining in their semifinal matchup with Central Florida on Tuesday night. Then all of a sudden, it all started to click for Jamie Dixon’s squad who went on to rattle off the game’s next 10 points. UCF went on to take a 31-29 lead into the break, but momentum was clearly on the side of the players donning purple and white.
TCU wasted no time taking over the game outscoring the unsuspecting Knights 16-5 to snag a double-digit lead that UCF was never fully able to eat into. When it was said and done, the Horned Frogs outscored UCF by 17 points in the second half to pull out what turned out to be the carefree 68-53 win and cover as 2.5 point favorites. Vladimir Brodziansky won his matchup against Tacko Fall in going for a game-high 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting, while Kenrich Williams’ 14 rebounds helped TCU destroy UCF on the glass to the tune of a 40-29 advantage.
As good as TCU looked in the final 25 minutes of their game against Central Florida, the team that looked the best of the four teams that took to the MSG floor was no doubt the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. You know, the team that was picked to finish second-to-last in the ACC this season! So much for those preseason prognostications! Josh Pastner’s kids are now playing for the NIT championship after winning their first NIT semifinal in 46 years by pulling a wire-to-wire job on what had been a CSU-Bakersfield squad infected by March Madness.
GTECH had no problem whatsoever breaking down a feisty Roadrunners squad that entered the game ranked No. 13 in the nation in scoring defense and No. 14 in steals. Though the Yellow Jackets only shot 43.3 percent from the field, they outscored Bakersfield 34-24 in the paint and only turned the ball over a season-low seven times. Josh Okogie led the way with 22 points, while Ben Lammers dominated down low scoring 15 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. Tech held a double-digit lead for most of the game before ultimately pulling out the 76-61 win and cover as 3 point chalk.
Matchup to Watch
These teams will only be able to go as far as their superstars take them. For that to occur, each has to remain on the court. Both TCU and Georgia Tech are normally pretty good at not committing fouls with the former averaging just 17.5 per game and the latter 16.1. However, Brodziansky and Williams were saddled with seven combined fouls on Tuesday night forcing them to the bench for long stretches. Okogie and Lammers were each whistled for three fouls, and when either of those two is forced to the bench due to foul trouble, GTECH has all kinds of issues scoring the basketball. The team that limits its fouls best will have the better chance of coming out on top.
TCU vs. Georgia Tech Picks
The Horned Frogs certainly possess the better of these two offenses, but the Ramblin’ Wreck will have the best player on the floor in Okogie as well as the nastier defense. TCU was able to solve the riddle that had been UCF’s Tacko Fall by getting him into early foul trouble and basically just tiring him out. Lammer normally does a good job of making the most of his fouls, and is better suited to not tire out like the 7-foot behemoth should the Horned Frogs look to run. I give him the leg up in this matchup.
TCU has come up with some big wins this season, but GTECH has come up with even bigger ones. They’ve also taken what I rate out as the tougher road to get here and came through with style covering all four games against the odds at BookMaker.eu. Going into Ole Miss and beating the Rebels and following that win up with a dominating win over Bakersfield is much more impressive to me than beating overmatched Richmond at home and then taking it to what was clearly a gassed Knights outfit. Look for Okogie and Lammer to put a bow on this end of season run by cutting down the nets.
TCU vs. Georgia Tech ATS Pick: Bet Georgia Tech at BookMaker.eu
TCU vs. Georgia Tech Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 70 – TCU 60