A-10 Wednesday Preview: St. Joe’s faces key matchup against UMass

Game of the Night

St. Joseph’s Hawks vs. Massachusetts Minutemen – 7 ET

St. Joe’s needs to continue winning to remain in the NCAA tournament conversation, and UMass provides a present a quality opportunity for the Hawks to pick up a victory. While SJU has won their last five games, the Massachusetts has lost the last five of theirs and sit among the bottom dwellers of the conference.

The Minutemen have struggled immensely at defending the post, especially against talented forwards and centers. Earlier this season, they ceded 26 points to George Washington’s Tyler Cavanaugh, 32 points to Providence’s Ben Bentil and 20 points to Creighton’s Geoffrey Groselle. All told, UMass is giving up 78.8 PPG this season, which ranks 313th among Division 1 teams. For St. Joe’s DeAndre’ Bembry, this should be great news.

I expect to see Bembry, an all-conference candidate, to put up large numbers tonight. With the athleticism he brings to the table, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have a double-double tonight. I expect St. Joe’s to win this one marginally and improve to 17-3 on the season.

Elsewhere in A-10 Action

Dayton Flyers vs. Saint Louis Billikens – 7 ET

Dayton looks to avoid another upset when they host the Billikens at UD Arena. While the Flyers fell victim to a weak La Salle team earlier this season, Archie Miller’s guys should be well prepared for this matchup on home court. Dayton hasn’t lost a conference game at home in nearly two years, so don’t expect this to be the first trip up. Steve McElvene should dominate the SLU interior that is among the weakest in the A-10. I expect a big win for Dayton in this game.

Rhode Island Rams vs. Fordham Rams – 7 ET

The battle of the Rams may not have major postseason implications, but it would mark Fordham’s best win of the season if they were able to pull it off. URI is ranked 80th in the KenPom rankings while Fordham’s best win has come against the 207th ranked George Mason Patriots. KenPom also gives Rhody a 85% chance of victory, given that it is on home court as well. I like URI to pull away in this game.

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