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Atlantic 10 Friday Preview and Predictions

Game of the Day: St. Bonaventure vs Syracuse | 7pm | ACCNE

It’s the game we’ve all been waiting for, Bona fans. With a win tonight, the Bonnies will put themselves right back in position to make the NCAA tournament. Following the return of Jaylen Adams, they have won six straight games, including a buzzer beater against Vermont in Rochester last week. The Bonnies biggest weakness is rebounding, and Syracuse could exploit that with the sixth best rebounding margin in all of D1. They simply cannot afford to give up as many rebounds and second chance opportunities tonight as they have all season.

To me, the number one storyline in this game is Jaylen Adams. For months, Bonnies fans have heard about the accolades, the compliments from opposing media, and his future in the NBA. Well, today is when he can really prove to me that he deserves every word of that praise. A good player helps their team win games. A really good player wins games for their team. But a great player wins the big game, on the road, against a rival, in a must win situation. Let’s see what he can do.

In the end, I tried, I really did, to pick ‘Cuse in this game. I just couldn’t do it. #Unfurl

My Prediction: Bonnies 70, Syracuse 68

Massachusetts vs Maine | 4pm

Maine is one of the worst teams in college basketball (kenpom #337), and Matt McCall has the Minutemen playing some pretty good ball lately. UMass should roll in this one.

My Prediction: Umass 80, Maine 62

VCU vs VMI | 7pm

It’s been a disappointing non-conference season for VCU, who will finish without a kenpom top 50 win. The plus side for them though has been the emergence of Justin Tillman. In his senior season, he’s averaging 17.8 pts and 7.9 rebounds per game. The Rams will need him to continue his post dominance in conference play to finish near the top.

My Prediction: VCU 86, VMI 63

George Mason vs Morgan State | 7pm

George Mason has taken a couple steps back after making good progress in Dave Paulsen’s second season as head coach. The offense has struggled to find its form, averaging less than 67 points per game, and they have yet to eclipse 80 points the entire season. Their normal game should be enough to win this one though.

My Prediction: George Mason 71, Morgan State 60

Saint Louis vs Southeast Missouri State | 7pm

Things haven’t exactly gone as planned for a SLU team that was expected to take big strides this year. After a surprise win over Virginia Tech early in the season, the Billikens have lost to every good team they’ve played, while also losing to Detroit Mercy and Western Michigan at home. The Billikens have already lost their share of games to weaker teams this year. I think they’ll close out the non-conference season on a positive note.

My Prediction: Saint Louis 74, SEMO 64

La Salle vs. Bucknell | 7pm

La Salle storms into this game after putting up 95 points against Mercer on Sunday. No surprise that they were lead by B.J. Johnson with 25 points and eight rebounds, and Pookie Powell with 24 points and three assists. Even with the Bonnies tandem back together, these two are making a strong push to be crowned best duo in the conference.

My Prediction: La Salle 84, Bucknell 80

Duquesne vs. San Francisco | 8:30pm

Wow, I didn’t know Duquesne played games outside Pittsburgh anymore. The Dukes will play their first game outside the ‘Burgh (They played Pitt in PPG Paints), against San Francisco in the Continental Tire Las Vegas “Classic.” It’s nearly impossible to construct a schedule as easy as the one Duquesne has played thus far. Actually, it’s impossible. The Dukes are #351 (last in D1) in kenpom’s SOS rating. San Francisco will amazingly be the best team they’ve played all season.

My Prediction: Duquesne 68, San Francisco 75

Davidson vs New Mexico State | 11pm

An underrated game to close out the night for any A-10 fan still up. The Aggies have won eight straight games since losing to Saint Mary’s in November, including a nice win over Illinois last week. Senior guard Zach Lofton is averaging nearly 20 pts per game, while Jemerrio Jones averages 11.6 rpg as a 6-5 forward. I think Davidson’s offense closes out the non-conference season strong and gives the Wildcats their first top 100 win of the season.

My Prediction: Davidson 83, New Mexico State 75

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