Seven teams are in action on Saturday the week before A-10 play conference play begins, and three teams have Power-5 matchups. Buckle up, grab a snack, and turn on the ESPN networks, it’s going to be a good one.
Davidson at North Carolina | 12 pm
This game features two of the best offenses in D1. The Tar Heels are averaging a staggering 92.3 points per game and have played four out of their last five games against ranked opponents. Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady are averaging 37.5 points per game this season, and are shooting 39.7% and 37.5% from behind the arc, respectively. Grady is expected to play today after nursing a knee injury the past few contests. The over is 8-2 in the Tar Heel’s past 10 games, and 5-1 in Davidson’s past 6 games. These two high-powered offenses should be fun to watch and should be raining buckets.
Pick: Over 162
St. Bonaventure at Syracuse | 2 pm
One year ago, the Bonnies conquered the beast and marched out of Syracuse with a with a win, and a resume that supported their post-season aspirations. It wasn’t pretty though, as they managed only 60 points in 45 minutes, including zero points in the final 7:17 of regulation. That was with Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. The Bonnies offense has gotten a whole lot worse, and the Syracuse defense is, well, the Syracuse defense. The tallest team in America will pose a significant challenge to this young Bonnies team that relies almost exclusively on Courtney Stockard to provide offense. If the Orange key on Stockard similarly to how Buffalo did, it would be a miracle for the Bonnies to break 60 points.
Pick: St. Bonaventure Team Total Under 58
Wagner at St. Joseph’s | 2 pm
Maybe it will take some time to adjust to the return of Charlie Brown and Pierfrancesco Oliva. Maybe the Hawks aren’t going to be as powerful an offense as people thought. Maybe they just had a really, really, bad shooting night. I don’t believe the Hawks will score that 50 points or fewer again this season, and one game to get his feet back under him should help Charlie Brown return to form today. The Hawks will shoot better than 20% from three and 30% from the field today. Expect the Hawks to come out firing and to light up the scoreboard against Wagner.
Pick: Over 142
American at George Washington | 2 pm
George Washington is having one of its worst seasons in recent memory. They are 294th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, shooting 60.9% from the line, and are only averaging 63.4 points per game. The injury to forward Arnaldo Toro hasn’t helped either. American is no offensive juggernaut though, with the 203rd best adjusted offensive efficiency rating and an average length of possession of nearly 19 seconds. Pair two miserable offenses with a quasi-rivalry game and what do you get? A low scoring ball game.
Pick: Under 134
Georgia Southern at Dayton | 3:30 pm
Georgia Southern is one of the fastest paced teams in basketball with the fourth highest adjusted efficiency and tempo rating in the country. Their fast-paced offense has them averaging 87 points per game. However, Dayton plays the opposite game, with the 292nd efficiency and tempo rating. What do both teams have in common? The inability to shoot threes. Dayton shoots 32.3% from deep while Georgia Southern shoots only 30%. Dayton is playing at home, hasn’t had a bad loss all season, and should be able to impose their style of play on the speedy Eagles enough to keep the game in the 70’s.
Pick: Under 157
Richmond at South Alabama | 4 pm
Richmond has yet to win a true road game this season. They’ve had a difficult time scoring consistently, continue to have their fans embrace the #FireMooneyMafia, and are headed towards another disappointing year. All that being said, Southern Alabama doesn’t have much of a home-court advantage (ranked 255th by Kenpom) and has one of the worst strength of schedules in the country. The Jaguars won’t be able to score at will as they did against NAIA University of Mobile and will have a tough time guarding Grant Golden. I think Richmond finds a way to pick up a win heading into conference play.
Pick: Richmond +105
George Mason at Kansas State | 8 pm
George Mason may finally be starting to turn around what started off as an abysmal season. They’ve won 4 out of 5 and scored over 80 points in three of those contests. Their team-wide 32.9 three-point percentage isn’t pretty, but they were able to go 11-25 in their most recent game against Navy. Kansas St. relies on their defense to win them games, averaging only 68.2 points per game, and shooting only 44% from the field. With that little offense, the Wildcats will have trouble pulling away from a Patriots team that is starting to find a rhythm and could use momentum heading into conference play.
I think the Patriots will lose this one. But not by more than 15.
Pick: George Mason +15