The Spiders finished up non-conference play this past weekend where they lost to Alabama by 12. Richmond stands at 10-3 as conference play begins this week having lost 2 straight (Radford & Alabama). Considering that they finished up non-conference play at 6-8 just a year ago, this is a huge jump for Chris Mooney’s squad. Richmond grabbed a few wins that will look good come March, but also lost 1 that won’t help.
Richmond did a good job early on of shooting the deep shot. They had stretches at home where it felt like they just wouldn’t miss. When they had these stretches, it felt as if they wouldn’t lose. Richmond’s first big win of the year was at home vs Vanderbilt in OT. Beating SEC schools will never hurt you when it comes to fighting for an at-large bid. Defeating Wisconsin, who just beat Tennessee by 20 in Knoxville, is easily the Spiders best victory of the year. Beating Boston College by 20 at home was a big morale boost for the squad as well. Due to Richmond’s SOS, they didn’t really have any other chances for any “good” wins, but they took care of business — for the most part.
The Spiders made it deep into non-conference play before this had to be talked about. Richmond has been beaten just 3 times this year (Auburn, Radford, & Alabama). Auburn is currently 12-0 and the #15 team in the country, so this wasn’t too much of a shocker. The loss that could really end up hurting them was to Radford on a neutral court in our nation’s capital. Coming into that game, Radford was 3-7 and 144th in the KenPom rankings. Richmond ended up losing by 15 to the Highlanders and is their only true “bad” loss of the season. In their last outing against Alabama, they struggled from deep, which has been an issue away from the Robins Center. They made a nice run in the 2nd half, but ended up falling short to the Crimson Tide. We won’t consider this a bad loss, but it was a game that would’ve been nice to have.
Looking Ahead to Conference Play
Richmond has shown everyone in the A-10 that they can hang with the big guys. The Spiders should have a good run in league play, and have a good shot at finishing near the top by the end of the season. With a starting lineup of 4 juniors, they are capable of playing with tremendous poise and tempo. If they can put together a solid conference record, it will only help them more for next season when it comes to experience. This is a team that is dangerous when they are shooting well, so we can expect them to grab some key victories in conference play.
Non-Conference Grade: B+
Richmond ends up getting a B+ for their non-conference results. They really were flirting with an A, but that loss to Radford could really end up hurting them come March. For a team that only won 13 games just a year ago, there should be a lot of excitement around this squad. The Spiders host Saint Joseph’s on Thursday, in a game that could set the tone for their success in league play.