Hawaii Warriors Vs. Air Force Falcons 3/20/13 Mark’s Free College Basketball Pick Against the Spread CIT First Round
The Air Force Falcons make the long trip to the Hawaii Warriors in the CIT opener for both teams.
Air Force certainly looked like a top four team in the Mountain West early in their conference schedule before things totally unraveled in the last month. The Falcons finished the regular season 3-7, including a loss to UNLV in the MWC playoffs. AFA fell to 7-7 in league play for the 6th seed with five 20+ win teams in front of them which is a tough landscape to deal with. The Falcons have been a solid offensive squad at over 70 points scored on 47.5% shooting although the defense has been scored on with nearly 68 points given up on 44.7% from the floor. In a nutshell, no scoring probably means losing which has happened lately. Assuming all things are equal, AFA needs their scorers to step up or they won't go far which means star Michael Lyons and his nearly 18 points has to show up and it wouldn't hurt if their three secondary scorers that average between 8-9+ points break double figures.
As little as a month ago, Hawaii was in line for the second sees in the Big West before a 2-4 run to end the regular season dropped the Warriors all the way to 5th at 10-8 before UC Irvine put a halt to their NCAA dreams in the playoffs. Hawaii is an offensive first squad and need points because their defense does just enough to win more than they lose. UH lights the scoreboard up to the tune of over 73 points on 45.3% from the floor which makes them a top 50 scoring team. The flip side is their fast paced nature does the defense no good which allows over 72 points so the math tells me the margin for error is slim to none. How deep Hawaii goes in to the tournament depends on the tandem of Christian Standhardinger and Vander Joaquim who combined for over 30 points and 16 rebounds with 51% and 48% shooting.
Both teams rely on their scoring to get the job done because neither are defensive jaugernauts. Air Force is tough to back because their play has been awful and the long trip to Hawaii takes a toll. However, the Falcons have the better RPI and tougher schedule and if that accounts for any thing, they are my choice...