Game of the Night
La Salle Explorers vs. Temple Owls – 7 ET (CBSSN)
One of the the best things about college basketball is the tradition, and we get a whiff of that in tonight’s annual Philadelphia Big 5 Doubleheader. In a classic matchup between two of the original power five teams in Philly (along with St. Joe’s, Villanova and Penn), La Salle and Temple face off in the Palestra, one of the oldest and most storied gyms in the nation. While the Explorers have been one of the weaker teams in the A10 this season, this still should be a fun rivalry game to watch.
Three games removed from a surprising upset win over Dayton, La Salle is back to normal, dropping games to Richmond and Rhode Island last week. That being said, Jordan Price remains a stud. The junior is about as consistent as they come and is averaging 20.0 PPG over his last five contests. He will have his work cut out for him when facing off against a stingy Temple team.
The Owls (9-7, 4-2 AAC) have genuinely been one of the most interesting teams this season. While their worst loss is to Houston (ranked #82 in KenPom), Temple has been able to upset Cincinnati twice the season and beat UConn on the road. They are led by senior guard Quenton DeCosey, who is averaging 15.8 PPG on the season. DeCosey is a solid three-point shooter (40.7%) and but can also beat teams off the ball with his 6-5 frame.
KenPom projects a 70-62 win for La Salle here on the neutral site. Temple is perfect against teams that are not top-1oo in the rankings and the Explorers are ranked 256th. That being said, this is a rivalry game, and in contests like this, everything gets thrown out the window.
Elsewhere in A10 Action
VCU Rams vs. Duquesne Dukes – 7 ET
The Rams look to extend their eight-game winning streak at home tonight as they return for their first game since besting Richmond this weekend in an instant classic. JeQuan Lewis is coming off a career-high 29 points against the Spiders in which he all but took over the game at some points. As VCU head coach Will Wade said, this team will go as far as Lewis takes the. Duquesne, on the other hand, is working on digging itself out of a hole. The Dukes have won their past two games, including their most recent upset over St. Bonaventure, but still lag behind the pack after an 0-3 start in A10 play. It doesn’t take an expert to predict another VCU win here.
Fordham Rams vs. George Mason Patriots – 7 ET
The good news for George Mason is that they finally got their first A10 win of the season over Saint Louis last week. The bad news? They’re favored to lose this matchup in Fordham fairly heavily. While neither team has been playing particularly well as of late, Marquise Moore of the Patriots is coming off a 22-point 10-rebound performance against the Billikens. Look for him to take command early if he can fend off Fordham, one of the better defenses in the nation. The Rams are favored by five points.
St. Louis Billikens vs. Davidson Wildcats – 8 ET
Saint Louis has lost three straight since upsetting George Washington is one of the shockers of the A10 season. The Billikens have been weak on nearly all fronts this entire season, the most prominent being offensive efficiency (of which they rank 310th in the nation). Davidson is trying to follow up a win over UMass with a victory that would up their conference record to 4-2. Jack Gibbs was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week once again this Monday after averaging 37.0 PPG in his past two games. Look for him to continue where he left off on SLU’s home court.
St. Joseph’s Hawks vs. Pennsylvania Quakers – 8:30 ET
The second game of the Philadelphia Big 5 Doubleheader is between two classic rivals that have been competitive for years. While St. Joe’s leads the all-time head-to-head series with Penn 45-32, the Hawks lost last year by a score of 56-52. With this team being very much on the bubble, a win here on a neutral court is much needed. Penn may not be a top-100 team, but with one of the weaker SOS’s from here on out, the Hawks need to win this to stay alive. I like St. Joe’s to pull this one out with some big help from DeAndre’ Bembry.