After a fun opening night of Atlantic 10 basketball, we’ve got another good slate of Friday night games ready to go, headlined by Davidson’s season-opener against #24 Auburn.
Davidson vs. #24 Auburn
Davidson and Auburn will tip off in Annapolis in what’s shaping out to be a great weekend-opening game of hoops. The Wildcats put up 102 points against Glenville St. in their exhibition match but allowed 94 on the other end. Defense needs to be the focal point for Bob McKillop’s team if they want to knock off a group in the preseason top 25. Auburn won its season opener, downing Georgia Southern 83-74 at home. The Tigers, however, committed 23 turnovers and didn’t manage to shoot better than 32% from three. The key for Davidson will be slowing down Samir Doughty, former VCU guard, who looks to be one of Auburn’s best players this year. He went for 20 points in the Tigers’ opener and had 4 steals in the process. The outcome of this game depends on shooting: Davidson is the better team from long range, but they’ll have to prove it. Shots need to fall in Annapolis, but this is going to be a great game.
Pick ATS: Davidson +3.5
George Mason vs. Longwood
It wasn’t easy, but the Patriots escaped Navy in overtime on Tuesday night behind some hot three point shooting in the extra session. AJ Wilson had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds while freshman Xavier Johnson also logged 15 points. What concerns me is GMU giving up 20 offensive rebounds to a Navy team that’s not that big. Mason suffered some significant scoring droughts on Tuesday night, and it’s clear that Justin Kier’s absence is a big gap. I think the Lancers will put up a pretty good fight (they gave Duquesne fits last year), but Mason will pull away with the win once again.
Pick ATS: George Mason -8.5
St. Bonaventure vs. Vermont
The Bonnies suffered a head-scratching loss to Ohio on opening night, and things won’t get easier when they play host to a tough Vermont team. The Catamounts have Anthony Lamb who was undoubtedly one of the best Mid Major forwards in the country last season. This team gave Florida St. a run for its money last season in the NCAA Tournament, and almost everyone returns. A huge key in this game is rebounding. The Catamounts were 4th in the nation on the defensive glass last season, and Anthony Lamb was a big reason why. But without Osun Osunniyi in the lineup, St. Bonaventure is missing a significant rim-protector and overall defender to challenge Lamb. I don’t like the Bonnies’ chances…
Pick ATS: Vermont PK
VCU vs. North Texas
Marcus Santos-Silva was the real deal on Tuesday night, going for 21 points and 18 rebounds in a win. The Rams didn’t have much of an issue with St. Francis PA, but they hung around down 10 or 12 points for most of the game. The Rams will need to clean up a few things before the real challenging non-conference games begin: they’ll need to be better from long range and commit fewer turnovers than they did on Tuesday night (18). That said, VCU’s defense looks as good as it did last year, and opposing teams are going to have a tough time scoring against the Rams. I see another 14 or 15 point victory in the Rams’ future on Friday night.
Pick ATS: North Texas +16.5
Richmond vs. St. Francis PA
St. Francis PA gets another shot at a Richmond team after they lost to VCU on Tuesday. I’ve been very curious to see how the Spiders look this season after beating Virginia Tech by 19 in a secret scrimmage but then struggling in their exhibition game. I’ve noted that I think Richmond has one of the best (if not the best) starting 5s in the league, though their bench runs thin. Getting contributions from guys like Jake Wojcik and Andre Gustavson will obviously be key. I think UR opens the season with an impressive win and starts to make a statement, but this team could surprise us in either direction.
Pick ATS: Richmond -11.5
Grant Labedz 2019-20 A-10 Record ATS: 5-4