Atlantic 10 Sunday Preview and Predictions

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Game of the day: George Mason vs Penn State

Last season, the Patriots not only beat Penn State, but they ran away with it in the second half, ultimately winning by a margin of 19 points. This season, Penn State’s three losses have only been by a combined 19 points, and George Mason has not won a game by more than 12. Needless to say, this game should be a little different than last year. Here are some keys to the game heading into this one.

A-10 fans caught a glimpse of how good Penn State can be last Saturday when they were up on George Washington by 29 points at halftime. The Nittany Lions can score the ball, and George Mason is going to have to step up on defense, as they are ranked 184th in opponents’ points per game this season. Sophomore Tony Carr has been averaging 20 PPG for the Nittany Lions, and the Patriots will hope they can slow him down.

For George Mason, they need to find a way to score more points, especially if they are going to give up as many as they have so far this season. This starts with Otis Livingston, who only shot 2-10 in there last game, and totaled only 7 points. The Patriots are going to have to find ways to get him in a groove and bolster those shooting numbers.

One more thing to note: last year, George Mason outrebounded Penn State by 15, even though the Nittany Lions had a substantial size advantage. The same scenario will happen today, and if the Patriots can find a way to out-rebound Penn State again, that will help there chances.

Expect a strong start from George Mason, after the ugly loss in there last game. But even with a strong start, it is going to be too difficult for them to sustain that level of play over the course of this one.

My Prediction: Penn State 75, George Mason 61

Duquesne vs North Carolina A&T

Duquesne has been taking advantage of an extremely weak schedule recently, as they have mounted 4 straight wins, all by 14 or more points. This game will be there hardest since there game against Pitt on the 1st of December, as the Aggies have played well this season, most notably hanging around till the very end with Georgetown. Freshman Eric Williams Jr. has played amazing for Duquesne this season, but the main player to focus on in this one might be Jordan Robinson. Yes, he has been getting limited minutes recently, but the Aggies have a forward (Femi Olujobi) that won’t be stopped unless someone his size is guarding him. Olujobi is averaging 24 points and 9 rebounds. If Duquesne can stop him, it should cruise. But he will have to be stopped by Robinson; Williams and Verhoeven won’t cut it.

My Prediction: North Carolina A&T 65, Duquesne 70

La Salle vs Mercer

After playing a very strong game against one of the best teams in the country, the Explorers will look to pick up a win over Mercer, and improve their record to .500 on the season. La Salle got another great game from B.J Johnson, but the Explorers are still looking for more productivity from their bigs. Mercer is led by senior guard Ria’n Holland who came back from missing three games to score 24 in the Bear’s last game. He and Pookie Powell will be going head to head in this one. La Salle should be able to take its momentum from playing a strong game against Villanova and defeat the Bears in this one.

My Prediction: La Salle 68, Mercer 59

St. Joseph’s vs Maine

St. Joseph’s had a tough loss in its last game against Temple, a game in which it fought back in the second half. This one, at least on paper, should not be too close when the final buzzer sounds. Between Newkirk, Demery, and Funk, the Hawks have too much firepower for Maine to handle. Considering that the Hawks will want to get back on the court and get back on track, this one should be pretty one-sided.

My Prediction: Maine 55, St. Joseph’s 64

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About Author

Mike Macesich is a basketball super-fan born and raised in the Burgh. After attending numerous Duquesne home games, he grew to love not only the Dukes, but the whole A10 conference.

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