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College Basketball: Buy or Sell

   by ASA - 01/20/2009

Buy – Long Beach State 49ers

While the 49ers may no longer be a “secretâ€쳌, they are a very good basketball team. We were convinced when we sat courtside and watched this team take Wisconsin to the wire in the Kohl Center. They are athletic and they play hard under former Minnesota and Gonzaga head coach Dan Monson. This team prepared themselves for Big West play very nicely during their non-conference schedule traveling all over the country to take on the big boys of college basketball. This team traveled to the likes of Wisconsin, Oregon, BYU and Syracuse to get them physically and mentally prepared for conference play. It has worked as “the Beachâ€쳌 is now 5-0 and on top of the Big West. They have also covered five straight games.

Some of the early value may have drifted away from this team with their early conference success, however we still feel they are the cream of the crop in the league. Their overall stats may not look all that impressive due to their difficult non-conference slate which saw them play only four home games. However, a look at the Big West stats only reveals the real story. The Niners are #1 in the Big West (conference games only) in defensive field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. They are #2 in conference games in offensive field goal percentage, rebounding, offensive points per possession and defensive points per possession. They have a “go-toâ€쳌 guy in senior Donovan Morris (17 PPG) who can take over games as we watched him almost do here vs. Wisconsin.

With four of their next five games at home and their only road game in that stretch being @ UC Irvine who currently stands at 5-12, this LBSU team could pull away in the Big West.

Sell – Georgetown Hoyas

The Hoyas have rolled out to an impressive start with a 12-4 record as of this writing. However, the schedule starts to get much tougher in the near future with this young team staying on the road for much of the rest of January. After playing a road game at Duke last Saturday, John Thompson’s crew will now play four games in the span of 10 days. Three of those four are on the road. That could take a short term toll on this team.

Many times young teams that play well early in the year may struggle during the “dog daysâ€쳌 in late-January and into February. Young players hit the proverbial wall and it becomes much more difficult to get ready games both physically and mentally. Of Georgetown’s top eight players, three are freshman and three are sophomores. Their defense has been very good for most of the year as they have held opponents 38% from the floor which is 15th nationally. However, those numbers have dropped dramatically in Big East play. In conference games only they are allowing 45% shooting with is 10th in the Big East. They are also allowing opponents to score 1.068 points per possession in conference games which is 11th in the league. Their rebounding has been a sore spot all season long as they are dead last in the Big East in that category. A tired defense and poor rebounding are not the ingredients for success in any league, much less the ultra tough Big East.

The only game the Hoyas get to play at home the rest of this month is Thursday vs. West Virginia which won’t be an easy one. The Mountaineers are well coached and very under rated. Then they travel to Seton Hall, Cincinnati and Marquette all in a seven day span. Throw in the Duke game last Saturday and that means this team will play four of five away from home. Let’s sell this team for the rest of this month as they appear to be tired and it won’t get any better travel wise.

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