With win over VCU, George Washington looks poised to end NCAA Tournament drought

Wednesday January 15th, 2014

Patricio Garino Patricio Garino led the Colonials with 25 points in the upset win over VCU. (Mitchell Layton/Getty)

George Washington hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since a one-and-done trip in 2007. With wins like Tuesday's over VCU, that streak could very well end this season.

The Colonials upended the Rams 76-66 behind 25 points from Patricio Garino and 22 from Kevin Larsen. Of course, the victory was not their most impressive of the season. GW already boasts a win against No. 20 Creighton, which is locked in a battle for Big East supremacy with Villanova. Add to that wins over Manhattan and Boston University, both of which have their sights set on the tournament and are in according to SI.com's most recent Bracket Watch, and the resume shapes up nicely.

Should the Colonials, who are now 2-1 in the Atlantic 10, indeed get back to the tournament, a major factor will be their frontcourt. The sophomore Larsen, and import from Copenhagen, Denmark, is now averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this year. Senior Isaiah Armwood, who pulled down 14 boards against VCU on Tuesday, leads the team with 8.2 rebounds per game while scoring 11.3 points per contest. He has double-doubles in all three conference games this year, and has grabbed at least 10 rebounds seven times.

The true tests for GW will come when they play conference favorites Massachusetts and Saint Louis. They play each of those teams just once, UMass at home and the Billikens on the road, and that can be seen as a blessing or a curse. If they lose both, or even just beat the Minutemen at home, they may still have work to do in the conference tournament to secure a spot in the big dance. If they win both, they'll potentially be 3-0 against teams in the top 50 in RPI and in Ken Pomeroy's rankings. There's still a month between now and the Colonials facing either of the titans in the A-10. That will give them a chance to separate from the likes of VCU and Dayton, and even third-tier teams in the conference like LaSalle (who handed GW its only conference loss) and St. Bonaventure, which could play their way into NCAA-tournament consideration. With all these potential bubble teams from the same conference, head-to-head victories will become ever more important. The Colonials just scored one on Tuesday.

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