Georgia Tech (21-15) vs TCU (23-15)
When: Thursday, March 30th 2017
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and TCU Horned Frogs have bounced back from late season slumps to earn a spot in this year’s National Invitation Tournament Final Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Georgia Tech, which was a runner-up in this event in 1971, took care of Cal State Bakersfield 76-61 in Tuesday’s semifinal. Freshman guard and leading scorer Josh Okogie scored 22 points on Tuesday and he’s averaging 21.8 to go along with 7.8 rebounds in the tournament. Junior center Ben Lammers has three double-doubles in the NIT after producing 15 points and 11 rebounds versus Bakersfield, while senior forward Quinton Stephens has posted 15.5 points per game – five more than his season average. Lammers also has 13 blocks in the last two games and 18 for the tournament. Georgia Tech has scored between 71 and 76 points in their four NIT victories over Indiana, Belmont, Ole Miss, and Bakersfield.
The Horned Frogs had an even worse ending to their regular season, dropping their final seven games, but are 6-1 since after knocking off Central Florida 68-53 in the other semifinal game. Vladimir Brodziansky led the way with 18 points in 22 minutes as TCU advanced to the NIT championship for the first time in school history. Head coach Jamie Dixon is 27-15 at Madison Square Garden and has title game experience on his resume, having guided Pittsburgh to the Big East championship in 2008. Guard Kenrich Williams recorded 12 of his 14 points after halftime in Tuesday’s victory and has a double-double in each of the four NIT games and 18 on the season. Brodziansky is averaging 19 points and shooting 60 percent over the last three games. Guard Alex Robinson shot 2-for-10 against UCF but dished out six assists and has at least five in nine straight games. TCU knocked off Fresno State, Iowa, Richmond, and Central Florida to get to the title game. They also have a win over Kansas just 3 weeks ago.
I think TCU is the better all-around team here and the head coach has been in big games like this and will know how to handle his kids. Georgia Tech has been great defensively in this tournament, but the Horned Frogs should be able to shoot in the high 40% range and take the title back to Fort Worth.
Pick: TCU -3.5
HEAD TO HEAD
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