2014 NCAA Tournament Sleeper Team of the Week: George Washington Colonials

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When people think of the Atlantic 10 and the NCAA Tournament, most people think of Shaka Smart and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams. The A-10 has grown from a mid-major conference to a consistent Elite Eight threat after the recent runs of teams like VCU and the LaSalle Explorers.

However, so far this season, the most surprising team in the A-10 has not been either of these teams or even the No. 24 UMass Minutemen, but the George Washington Colonials.

George Washington was picked to finish 10th in the A-10 — that’s 10th out of 13 teams. In a league that contains the likes of VCU, Dayton, Richmond, LaSalle, Saint Louis and several other good teams, even 10th place could be a stretch for a weaker A-10 team. However, George Washington has shown themselves to be a lot better than predicted. Through the first four games of the season, the Colonials are 4-0.

When you look at the teams that the Colonials have beaten – Radford, Delaware State, Manhattan and Maine – it’s hard to be impressed. Each of these teams hails from a weak conference, and two of these teams already have losing records this early in the season.

However, it’s not who that George Washington has beaten, but how that they’ve beaten them. The Colonials have beaten their opponents so far by an average of 25 points a game, including a 44-point victory over Delaware State. GW has four players averaging at least 12 points or more, and six averaging at least eight points. Their offense is extremely efficient from all over the court and could pose problems to opposing teams down the stretch.

It’s still early in the season, but George Washington is a lot better than their predicted 10th-place finish in the A-10. With the way that VCU has played defense of late, I would even go as far as to say that GW is better than VCU at the moment. However, the Colonials still have a long way to go to make the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Unless George Washington dominates upcoming non-conference opponents that include the Georgia Bulldogs, the Miami Hurricanes, the Maryland Terrapins, the Kansas State Wildcats and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, they will have to have a huge showing in conference play if they are to sneak into the tournament. It will be difficult, but they have the talent to go far in the Atlantic 10.

Do not sleep on the Colonials, because this team knows how to score, and a few defensive lapses by opponents could lead to a few major conference upsets. George Washington is capable of not only making a run in the Atlantic 10 regular season, but possibly winning the A-10 tournament, sneaking into the 2014 NCAA Tournament and pulling off an upset.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google

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