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Around the Atlantic 10: George Mason rolls while Rhode Island suffers another close loss

The Atlantic 10 had a decent but busy Saturday as it ended up going 6-5 in the non-conference games it played. VCU, Richmond, George Mason, George Washington, Dayton and Duquesne got wins while Massachusetts, Rhode Island, La Salle, St. Bonaventure, and Fordham suffered losses. It’s been a tough go-around for the conference as a whole this non-con season, but the Atlantic 10 has managed a few good wins here and there, and there have been some surprises in the league this year as well.

1. George Mason rolls again with a road win over Pennsylvania

It’s not like the Patriots are beating Kansas or Duke, but you can’t help but be a little bit impressed with the way Dave Paulsen’s squad has been playing as of late. After taking down Penn 79-60 in the Palestra on Saturday, this Mason team has won 7 straight games, 3 of which being true road games. Most notably, the Patriots have beaten an excellent mid-major in Northern Iowa and a Power 5 team in Penn State.

The player of the game for George Mason on Saturday was undoubtedly Marquise Moore. The senior guard went for 17 points, 10 assists, and 16 rebounds, a triple double to help the Patriots stay on their hot streak. Jalen Jenkins added 22 points and 6 boards, and after the Quakers kept this one close for the first 30 minutes, George Mason ran away with the game and never looked back. George Mason has two very easy non-conference home games before heading into A-10 play, and then it’ll have an interesting home matchup against a VCU team that’s really been struggling as of late.

2. Rhode Island hasn’t been winning close games

News flash: if you’re a Rhode Island fan, you can’t help but be a bit frustrated with the way these last few weeks have been going. It’s not like the Rams have lost any bad games, but they’re just not getting any of those 50/50 contests to fall their way. Rhody has lost 3 of its last 4, all of those losses coming on the road, but all of them felt like they were within the Rams’ grasp until late in the contest. Three recent road losses to Valparaiso, Providence, and Houston have come by a combined 11 points.

If just one or two of those games happen to go Rhode Island’s way, we’re still talking about this team as definite NCAA Tournament talent with very high chances of winning the league. That win over Cincinnati still looks really nice, but this team scheduled a lot of tricky but winnable games and only came out on top in 1 or 2. The Rams are just 1-4 against Kenpom Top 75 teams. Granted, Hassan Martin’s injury has hurt this team, but the Rams still have a lot to prove if we want to see them in the NCAA Tournament come March.

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Grant Labedz is a college basketball superfan who loves the entire sport but definitely has favorites in the A-10 and the Big Ten. He has written for ...