Game of the Day: Massachusetts vs. Providence
Massachusetts gets a great shot to beat a Big East opponent on Saturday as Providence comes to town. The Friars have looked like a Tournament team this year and gave URI a run for its money in Kingston. However, the Friars struggled in a recent overtime win over Brown at home, and if there’s any time for an A-10 upset, it’s now. Massachusetts snapped a 4 game losing streak with a win over Holy Cross on Wednesday.
The key to this one will be slowing down the Friars from deep. Providence shoots 43.2% from three as a team, ranking 8th nationally. Jalen Lindsey is shooting better than 55% on the season and already has 20 made threes. Massachusetts is only allowing teams to shoot 30.2% from three this year though, and if LuWane Pipkins can get a few of his own to fall, there’s a chance the Minutemen are able to sneak away with one at home.
Prediction: Providence 70, Massachusetts 62
Duquesne vs. Delaware St.
The Hornets boast balance scoring, but at just 2-8, this should be the worst team Duquesne has faced to date. In fact, the Dukes’ next 2 opponents (Delaware St. and Mississippi Valley St.) rank 2nd to last and dead last in Kenpom’s rankings. Talk about easy scheduling… I hope the Dukes don’t lose one of these games.
Prediction: Duquesne 75, Delaware St. 59
St. Bonaventure vs. Yale
The Bonnies need to win games like these. Yale is not an opponent this team can afford to lose to at home, but luckily, the Bonnies have been playing well with Adams back in the lineup. Yale has been very efficient as a team inside the three point arc, so the Bonnies will have to look towards their defense on Saturday.
Prediction: St. Bonaventure 77, Yale 64
Saint Joseph’s vs. Temple
Needless to say, Temple hasn’t exactly loved playing Atlantic 10 teams this year. In fact, the Owls’ only 2 losses have come at the hands of La Salle and George Washington, two A-10 teams that may or may not finish in the top half of the league. Meanwhile, the Owls boast 5 impressive wins over Old Dominion, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, all of which are Kenpom top 100 teams. I don’t think the Hawks will pick up the win on the road, but oddly, a very good Temple team has handled everyone except the Atlantic 10…
Prediction: Temple 76, Saint Joseph’s 62
VCU @ Seton Hall
This is essentially VCU’s last chance at securing a resume-building non-conference win. The Rams have lost close games to Virginia, Marquette, Michigan, and Texas. On the road against Seton Hall is going to prove to be anything but an easy game. The Pirates’ only loss of the season was against URI, but since that loss, Seton Hall’s beaten Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, and Louisville on the road. It’s gut-check time for Justin Tillman and a young frontcourt inside against Angel Delgado. Unfortunately, the Hall has way too many weapons.
Prediction: Seton Hall 83, VCU 63
Fordham vs. St. Francis (NY)
Fordham’s wins for the rest of the season are limited, but this should be one of them. The Rams face a Kenpom sub-300 team at home on Saturday, but they’ve also dropped contests in Rose Hill Gym against Miami OH, East Tennessee St., and recently, Harvard this season. It’s just not going to be Fordham’s year.
Prediction: Fordham 66, St. Francis (NY) 60
Dayton vs. Penn
I was considering making this the “game of the day” because this really should be a telling contest for the Flyers. A chance against a team that’s honestly becoming one of the Ivy League favorites could help indicate the type of season UD is looking to have. While Dayton should win this game, I expect the Quakers to keep it competitive to the wire, and a win may give Anthony Grant’s team some momentum before league play.
Prediction: Dayton 66, Penn 65
George Mason vs. North Carolina Central
George Mason’s season went from bad to worse on Wednesday following an embarrassing home loss to William & Mary. North Carolina Central is no William & Mary though, and the Patriots would be all but finished if they didn’t find a way to win this game. Mason needs a promising performance to get some positivity back.
Prediction: George Mason 74, North Carolina Central 60
George Washington vs. Penn St.
I’ve honestly been pleasantly surprised with George Washington this season. Maurice Joseph hasn’t blown it like a bunch of other A-10 coaches see to be doing, and while a home loss to Rider hurts this team, its win over Temple is picking it up a little bit. Penn St. is a good opponent to face on the road for tune-up purposes, and it’s going to be almost impossible to beat the Nittany Lions in University Park. However, the Colonials are getting battle-tested and should honestly have a shot at finishing in the top half of the league this year.
Prediction: Penn St. 83, George Washington 66
Saint Louis vs. Houston
I had high hopes for the Billikens following a neutral site win over Virginia Tech; a couple games later, and it looks like Travis Ford’s bunch may finish 9th or 10th in the A-10. This looked like a big opportunity at the beginning of the season, but I think SLU would be lucky to lose by single digits. Maybe the Billikens have what it takes to beat the Cougars at home, but losses in Chaifetz to Detroit and Western Michigan tell me otherwise.
Prediction: Houston 77, Saint Louis 66