Game of the Day: George Washington vs #6 Miami | 12 ET | CBSSN
The last time an ACC team ranked #6 in the nation came to play in the Smith Center, the Colonials got their signature win of the decade, defeating Virginia 73-68 on November 16, 2015. When Jim Larranaga brings his Hurricanes into the Smith Center today, GW will be looking for a similar result. Miami enters sitting at 8-0, one of the last six remaining undefeated teams in the nation. Miami has the 10th highest strength of schedule in the country, but most of that comes from their insane conference schedule. Minnesota is Miami’s only win over a KenPom top-100 team (the next highest win was, ironically, La Salle who is #140).
Knowing George Washington, there are only two possible outcomes to this game: either the Colonials will pull off the monumental upset, or they will lose by 20+ points. With this team, and this year especially, there really is no in between whatsoever. So what is my gut feeling on this one? To be perfectly blunt about this game, this is GW’s biggest game of the season. Given their 5-5 record and notable loss to Rider, the NIT isn’t really within the realm of possibility right now. This is George Washington’s Super Bowl. The Colonials literally have nothing to lose in this one, while Miami could suffer a severe RPI hit if they leave Foggy Bottom with a loss. Still, this prediction may not make sense to some, but when was the last time college basketball made sense anyways?
My Prediction: George Washington 73, Miami 68
Davidson at #16 Virginia | 2 ET | ESPN3
Speaking of Virginia, Davidson gets a shot at the 16th-ranked Cavilers this afternoon on the road. This will be a tough outing for the Wildcats against a UVA offense that has yet to allow an opponent to score 70 points yet this season (Davidson, on the other hand has surpassed the 100-point plateau twice already this season). Fresh off their only loss of the season, on the road at West Virginia, Virginia will be looking for a bounce back win today, with something to prove. I believe that factor, combined with Tony Bennett’s defense will simply be too much for Davidson to overcome.
My Prediction: Virginia 71, Davidson 59
UMass vs Georgia | 3 ET | NBCSN
So far this season, UMass has been the most befuddling mixed bag of a team, arguably of any team in the nation. At their best, the Minutemen have beaten Providence, and nearly took down both South Carolina and Minnesota. At their worst, UMass has a loss at Quinnipiac. For all the crap the A-10 has given GW for losing to Rider, the Broncs are are KenPom #185 (granted, at the time, they were in the 200s). Quinnipiac is KenPom #314. Talk about brutality. Georgia comes in today KenPom #71, with a record of 7-1. The only blemish on the Bulldogs’ résumé came at the hands of a very solid San Diego State team. So as far as this game goes, I have honestly absolutely no clue what to expect.
My Prediction: UMass 65, Georgia 61
(Yes, I really flipped a coin to pick the winner of this game. I’m truly that stumped as what to expect from UMass).
Rhode Island vs College of Charleston | 4 ET | A-10 Network
In a game that is much easier to pick, Rhode Island gets a date with Charleston today, who does come in with a 7-2 record, but their highest KenPom ranked team they’ve beaten is #242 Sam Houston State. The Cougars’ strength of schedule is #303 out of 351. Yikes. This is a game that URI should be able to take care of business in.
My Prediction: Rhode Island 77, Charleston 59
St. Bonaventure vs Vermont | 4 ET | A-10 Network
This is arguably one of the best mid-major vs mid-major matchups in all of college basketball this year. Don’t let the Catamounts’ 7-4 record fool you: this is a team who only lost to Kentucky by just four points at Rupp Arena. Their other losses are at Bucknell, who is likely a NCAA Tourney team, at Marquette and at Northeastern. There’s certainly no shame in any of those loses. Vermont’s best win of the season came against KenPom #88 Northern Kentucky, who is also arguably one of the top mid-majors in the nation. This is the type of game for St. Bonaventure that could help them sneak into the Tourney come Selection Sunday. Prepare for a possible instant-classic, everyone.
My Prediction: St. Bonaventure 71, Vermont 68
VCU vs Bucknell | 6 ET | A-10 Network/CBS 6 (Richmond)
Bucknell is another team that is far better than their record of 4-6 shows. The Bison lost on the road at Maryland and at North Carolina by a combined 10 points. In addition, Bucknell’s strength of schedule is #8 in the nation: That alone tells you all you need to know about this team. VCU comes into this one having lost back-to-back games at the hands of Texas and Seton Hall. This is the type of game that would really be a nice win for the Rams, should they be able to get it done tonight. I think the Rams do come away victorious, but it will come right down to the wire.
My Prediction: VCU 79, Bucknell 78
Dayton vs Georgia State | 7 ET | A-10 Network/Spectrum
You might remember Georgia State as the team lead by Kevin Ware and the coach on the stool (Ron Hunter) who fell off after his son (RJ Hunter) hit the game winning shot to defeat Baylor in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. I say it like that, because since that upset, no one has really heard anything from the Panthers since. This is a game at home that Dayton really needs to win, not to mention you really don’t want to fall to back-to-back lower tier mid-majors in a row (sorry, Penn).
My Prediction: Dayton 81, Georgia State 65
Saint Louis at Oregon State | 10:30 ET | Pac-12 Network
This is an intriguing game in that neither team has really been all that consistent this year. Granted, Oregon State (7-3) has a far better record than Saint Louis (5-5), but neither side has gotten a win over a quality opponent to date. The Beavers’ only win over a top-100 KenPom ranked team is (avert your eyes, Richmond fans) Jacksonville State. The Billikens really have been looking for a signature win of the non-conference season, and this has the potential to be that, especially given their final two non-con games are against Campbell and SEMO. Still, this will be a tough outing for SLU, but one that if they can manage to hang around in, could steal from the Beavers.
My Prediction: Oregon State 75, Saint Louis 71 (OT)