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Atlantic 10 Tuesday Preview and Predictions

Game of the Day: VCU vs. Appalachian St.

VCU returns home for its first game since the Maui Invitational; the Rams may get a harder Appalachian St. opponent than they originally expected. VCU is 3-3 on the young season after a 1-2 trip in Maui, though losses to Michigan and Marquette weren’t without battle from Mike Rhoades’ bunch. This will be VCU’s last tune-up game before a brutal stretch of opponents: Old Dominion, Texas, Seton Hall, and Bucknell all loom in VCU’s future.

Appalachian St. pulled a big surprise on the Atlantic 10 this past weekend downing Davidson, a team that looked like one of the more promising groups in the league. The Mountaineers jumped from 235 to 198 in Kenpom’s rankings following their 16 point win over the Wildcats. The recipe for success for Appalachian St. was limiting Davidson from long range; the Wildcats shot just 27.3% from deep.

VCU is shooting 38.3% from three as a team this year, and Appalachian St. hasn’t been stellar defending the long ball despite Saturday’s big win (the Mountaineers rank 217th nationally in 3PFG defense). Look for Malik Crowfield and De’Riante Jenkins, guys that combined for 15 total threes in Maui, to take advantage of a porous Appalachian St. defense like Davidson was unable to do. Despite App St’s ability to get to the free throw line frequently, VCU should control this game from tip to finish when back in the Siegel Center.

Prediction: VCU 82, Appalachian St. 66

Davidson @ Charlotte

The aforementioned loss certainly still stings for the Wildcats; they’re in dire need of a pick-me-up following a tough one in Boone last weekend. Fortunately, the 49ers are allowing teams to shoot nearly 40% from deep this season, so as long as the Wildcats don’t remain cold, their bread and butter should hold. Davidson likes to live and die by the three… here’s to hoping we get more of the former in Charlotte on Tuesday.

Prediction: Davidson 86, Charlotte 80

Rhode Island vs. Brown

Returning from Brooklyn with a Top 25 win under its belt, Rhode Island has to feel pretty good about itself, even coming off a loss to Virginia. The Rams showed that they can beat a dangerous Seton Hall team without E.C. Matthews. It was a convenient night for Jared Terrell to go for 32 points and hit a game-winning shot in the final seconds. Brown should stand no chance. Hopefully the Rams get some confidence in this one before turning around to host non-conference rival Providence this coming weekend.

Prediction: Rhode Island 78, Brown 59

Saint Louis vs. Western Michigan

It’s been nearly a week since Saint Louis dropped a home game to Detroit Mercy, and the Billikens will be hoping to snap a 2 game losing streak at home Tuesday night. Western Michigan will have other plans though. The Broncos boast only one win over a D1 opponent this season (it so happens to be Appalachian St.), but they’ve been pretty effective on defense with the 16th best steal percentage in the nation. SLU will have to limit giveaways and hopefully find a reliable threat from deep; as a team, its shooting just 25.6% from three.

Prediction: Saint Louis 66, Western Michigan 65

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