George Washington Men's Basketball 2016 NIT Tournament Capsule

George Washington Colonials
Atlantic-10 (23-10, 11-7)
George Washington is back in the postseason for the third straight year. However, after last year’s trip to the NIT, this was supposed to be the year the Colonials were able to dominate the Atlantic 10. It did not work out that way for Coach Mike Lonergan, but this is still a very capable team with the talent to make some noise in the postseason.
Big Wins: 11/16 Virginia (73-68), 12/2 Seton Hall (72-64), 2/6 at VCU (72-69)
Bad Losses: 12/22 at DePaul (61-82), 1/6 at St. Louis (62-65), 1/28 Richmond (90-98)
Coach: Mike Lonergan
Why They Can Surprise:
This is a fundamentally sound basketball team. They make their free-throws, take care of the ball and work hard on the glass. Add that with the senior leadership provided by Joe McDonald, Patrico Garino and Kevin Larsen, and that is a recipe for a success. McDonald has been, and still is, often overlooked because of his higher scoring teammates, but he runs the show and is a steadying force on both ends of the floor. McDonald averages just 8.5 points and 3.0 assists per game, but he also rebounds amazingly well for a 6-1 guard. GW is full of decent shooters, but Garino is a great shooter. On the year he connected on 44.2 percent of his shots from long range. Larsen has continued his progress and the 6-8 big man is averaging 11.7 points and 8.5 rebounds. The fact that he is keeping those numbers up despite the addition of 6-10 forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who transferred in from Wake Forest, is very impressive. Cavanaugh is a bigger presence in the paint and the team’s top scorer. The offense has started to work through him instead of Larsen, but having all of those weapons has obviously made this team more dangerous.
Why They Can Disappoint:
For a team that is so big, you would expect that the team field-goal percentage would be pretty good. But that is not the case. The Colonials shoot just 44.3 percent from the floor as a team. That is partially because everybody shoots the three, and most not particularly well. Having a guy like Cavanaugh who can stretch the floor is great and he has been relatively consistent shooting from outside, but players like Yuta Watanabe need to use their size to attack the basket instead of settling for three-pointers. A lack of depth could also be problematic for George Washington. They are a big team so sliding Garino to the three spot when the forwards need a break is not an issue, but Paul Jorgensen and Alex Mitola are the only impact bench players. Jorgensen is a solid playmaker and Mitola, a transfer from Dartmouth, has had an up and down season shooting the ball.
Probable Starters:
Joe McDonald, Senior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 3.0 apg, 5.4 rpg
Patrico Garino, Senior, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 1.5 spg, 4.2 rpg
Yuta Watanabe, Sophomore, Forward, 8.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1 bpg
Kevin Larsen, Senior, Forward, 11.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.5 apg
Tyler Cavanaugh, Junior, Forward, 16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Key Roleplayers:
Paul Jorgensen, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 ppg, 2.3 apg
Alex Mitola, Senior, Guard, 5.3 ppg, 1.5 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.2 (129th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.3 (89, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (168, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (135, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (208, 12)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (110, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.8 (15, 3)
Rebound Margin: 6.0 (32, 2)
Assists Per Game:  13.8 (139, 9)
Turnovers Per Game:  11.5 (63, 4)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NIT      First Round win over Pittsburgh
2015    NIT      Second Round loss to Temple
2014    NCAA Second Round loss to Memphis
2010    CBI      First Round loss to Virginia Commonwealth
2007    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Vanderbilt
2006    NCAA Round of 64 win over North Carolina-Wilmington
2006    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Duke
2005    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Georgia Tech
2004    NIT      First Round loss to Virginia
*all team stats through 3/6