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Atlantic 10 Thursday Preview and Predictions

Firstly, from all of us at A10 Talk, we with you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving! Now, onto the hoops:

Game of the Day: George Washington vs #15 Xavier | 5 ET | FS1 (Las Vegas Invitational)

This may not look like the most interesting game of paper perhaps, but longtime fans of the Atlantic 10 will remember the epic battles between GW and Xavier through the years back when the Musketeers were still in the A-10. Especially in their last years in the conference, it always seemed like this game went down to the wire every single year, and Xavier always came away with the victory, leaving the Colonials with another heart-wrenching defeat, year after year.

Xavier leads the all-time series 27-9, and has won the last eight meetings between the two schools. During at that span, GW’s average margin of defeat was just nine points. For perspective, the last time George Washington beat Xavier, in 2006, the Colonials were ranked #10 in the nation en route to a 16-0 record in the Atlantic 10, and peaking as high as #6 in the AP Poll. This is a team that has haunted GW fans, and the Muskateers’ patented “X-U!” chants will still give die-hard Colonials’ fans flashbacks.

All this is to say, this is a game that matters to George Washington. While none of their current players have ever faced Xavier before in their careers, their fans desperately want a win over their former A-10 West foe (yes, the A-10 used to have divisions!) Plus the Colonials have seen unprecedented success in neutral site holiday tournaments in recent years, recording wins over Miami, Creighton, Wichita State, Tennessee and Maryland.

All that said, GW is going to have a lot to overcome, especially after a lackluster performance to say the least against Rider. I fear the Colonials simply may be over-matched in this game, which is exactly why GW will prove me wrong and keep this a close game.

My prediction: Xavier 77 George Washington 65

Rhode Island vs #20 Seton Hall (Brooklyn) | 6 ET | ESPNU | (NIT Season Tip-Off)

This is a great opportunity for the Rams to get a quality win over a ranked team. The Pirates are sitting at 4-0 with wins over Fairleigh -Dickinson, Monmouth, Indiana and NJIT, and all by double-digits. URI is coming off a victory over Holy Cross in their last outing, and sits at 2-1. Despite the Rams’ NCAA Tournament potential, they are yet to have a résumé boosting win, and this would certainly be that. I look for Rhode Island to come out very hungry in this one, and pick up a high-quality win.

My prediction: Rhode Island 87 Seton Hall 82

Saint Joseph’s vs Washington State | 6:30 ET | ESPN3 (Wooden Legacy)

The start to this year has been absolutely brutal for the Hawks on the injury front. Lamarr Kimble is out for the season while Charlie Brown is out for at least a few weeks. Despite that, Saint Joseph’s is 2-1 on the year with wins over UIC and Princeton. The Cougars are 3-0 with wins over Texas Southern, Seattle and Idaho State- not exactly top-tier competition. Their record may be misleading however, as KenPom has Washington State ranked all the way down at #217. Don’t be surprised if SJU cruises to a 20+ point win today.

My prediction: Saint Joseph’s 91 Washington State 64

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