**Brigham Young vs. Valparaiso**
— The Westgate SuperBook opened this NIT semifinals showdown at Madison Square Garden as a pick ‘em with a total of 146. As of early this morning, however, the Crusaders were listed as two-point favorites with a total of 146.5 points. The Cougars were +115 on the money line (risk $100 to win $115), leaving Valpo at -135.
— Valparaiso (29-6 straight up, 17-14-1 against the spread) advanced to New York City by capturing a trio of home wins over Texas Southern (84-73), FSU (81-69) and Saint Mary’s (60-44). The Crusaders took the cash in the wins over the Seminoles and Gaels as 4.5 and 3.5-point home ‘chalk.’ In the win over Saint Mary’s, Valpo limited the Gaels to only 13 second-half points. Valpo won the battle on the boards by a 36-27 margin. Alec Peters scored 20 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists without a committing a turnover. Keith Carter contributed 11 points, while Vashil Fernandez produced nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
— Bryce Drew’s team owns a 6-9 spread record in 15 games as a single-digit favorite.
— Valpo played seven games against teams in the NCAA Tournament field, going 4-3 both SU and ATS. The Crusaders smashed Iona 83-58 as 7.5-point home favorites and also won 63-57 at Oregon St. as one-point puppies. They lost 73-67 but covered as 6.5-point ‘dogs at Oregon, which eventually was a No. 1 seed and advanced to the Elite Eight.
— Peters averages 18.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. The 6’9” junior forwards is shooting 51.1 percent from the field, 44.8 percent from downtown and 85.2 percent from the free-throw line. Carter (10.3 PPG) is the only other double-digit scorer, while Fernandez pulls down 7.4 RPG and 3.3 blocked shots per contest.
— BYU (26-10 SU, 18-14 ATS) made its way to the Big Apple by winning three consecutive home games over UAB (97-79), Virginia Tech (80-77) and Creighton (88-82). The Cougars went 2-1 ATS with their only non-cover coming against the Hokies as eight-point home ‘chalk.’ Zac Seljaas buried 5-of-6 shots, all from 3-point land, en route to scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the quarterfinals win over the Bluejays. Nick Emery added 17 points, seven boards and five assists. Star Kyle Collinsworth was limited to 20 minutes of playing time, but the senior forward still managed 10 points, five boards and four assists. Kyle Davis (18) and Chase Fischer (15) were also in double figures.
— Collinsworth has destroyed the NCAA’s career record for triple-doubles by producing 12, including one in the win over UAB on March 16. He averages 15.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
— Fischer (18.2 PPG) is BYU’s leading scorer, hitting 36.8 percent of his treys. Emery, an explosive freshman guard, averages 16.2 PPG and has a 90/51 assists-to-turnovers ratio. Emery is second on the Cougars in steals (48).
— BYU has been an underdog five times, posting a 2-3 spread record with one outright win at Gonzaga.
— Dave Rose’s squad hasn’t lost to a team not named Gonzaga since falling to Pacific 77-72 as a 17-point home favorite on Feb. 6.
— Rose’s team always plays at a frenetic pace, evidenced by its 84.0 PPG average that ranks sixth in the country.
— Totals have been an overall wash (16-16) for the Crusaders, but they have watched ‘over’ go 6-2 in their last eight games.
— The ‘over’ is 18-15 overall for the Cougars, 3-1 in their last four outings.
— Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**San Diego State vs. George Washington**
— The Westgate opened San Diego State (28-9 SU, 17-13 ATS) as a three-point favorite with a total of 130.5 points. As of early this morning, the line remained at three with total down to 129. The Aztecs are -165 on the money line, while gamblers can take the Colonials at +145 to win outright (risk $100 to win $145). San Diego St. was favored by 1.5 points for first-half wagers.
— Steve Fisher’s squad found its way to MSG in NYC with three consecutive home wins (SU and ATS) over IPFW (79-55), Washington (93-78) and Georgia Tech (72-56). San Diego State pulled away late in the second half to dispose of the Yellow Jackets as a five-point home favorite. Trey Kell scored a team-best 18 points thanks to 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. Winston Shepard added 12 points, five rebounds and two assists without a turnover, while Malik Pope posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
— San Diego State owns an 11-6-1 spread record in 18 games as a single-digit favorite this year.
— Shepard (11.4 PPG) averages team-highs in assists (3.1 APG) and rebounds (6.5 RPG). Kell is averaging a team-high 12.7 PPG.
— San Diego State has one of the nation’s top defensive teams, ranking tops in field-goal percentage defense (37.1%). The Aztecs are third in the country in scoring defense (60.5 PPG) and is fifth in defending the three-point line (29.8%).
— George Washington (26-10 SU, 16-16 ATS) beat Florida 82-77 as a 1.5-point home favorite in the quarterfinals. Tyler Cavanaugh drained 4-of-5 from long distance and scored a game-high 23 points for the winners. Kevin Larsen finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. Patricio Garino had 13 points and eight boards.
— Two nights before knocking off the Gators, GW collected an 87-71 win at Monmouth as a two-point road underdog. Cavanaugh was the catalyst with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Larsen added 19 points, five boards and five assists without a turnover. Garino finished with 19 points and six rebounds, while Joe McDonald had 16 points and seven boards.
— GW’s toughest NIT game actually came in the opener when it slipped past Hofstra, 82-80.
— George Washington went 4-4 ATS with three outright wins over teams in the NCAA field. The victims included Virginia, VCU and Seton Hall.
— The ‘over’ is 18-15 for the Colonials after hitting in their last six straight games. This is the second-lowest total they have had seen this year. The previous low was 125 in a 73-68 win over Virginia as a 6.5-opint home underdogs that saw the 141 combined points go ‘over’ the tally.
— The ‘under’ is 17-16 overall for the Aztecs, but they have watched the ‘over’ go 8-4 in their last 12 games.
— This game will tip 30 minutes after the conclusion of BYU-Valpo.