BlogTourney Central

Atlantic 10 Wednesday Preview: #12 Mason v #13 SLU, #11 Duquesne v #14 La Salle

Survive and advance. Very true this time of year but a loss in the case of these four teams and that’s all she wrote for the college careers of a handful of Patriots, Billikens, Dukes and Explorers. No postseasons awaits these four making Wednesday night’s A-10 tournament action high drama. I can’t wait.

#12 GEORGE MASON v #13 SAINT LOUIS – 6:30PM

gmuSaint-LouisThe Patriots and Billikens split the regular season series with George Mason owning the overall margin of victory at +5.5 thanks to a 13-point January home win and two-point home loss. Saint Louis comes into this one on a four-game losing streak but nearly knocked off Dayton in UD Arena during that stretch, their only real unforgivable loss being a road L at La Salle. The Patriots on the other hand won two of their last four including home upsets of VCU and Richmond. They also dropped a game at La Salle over that span of games.

Mason will be looking for their first A-10 tournament victory while SLU will be looking for their first postseason win since the Patriots have been an Atlantic 10 member, the Billikens going 0-2 since their program crashed into the A-10 cellar after the graduations of the talented 2013 senior class.

The two teams are incredibly evenly matched, Saint Louis being the better defensive unit this season, Mason the a slightly more effective offense and better rebounding unit.

Kenpom likes the Patriots by three and I lean that way as well. I think this may be the year Mason picks up A-10 tourney win No.1 heading into what would be a brutal Barclays battle for DC/NOVA bragging rights against George Washington.

#11 DUQUESNE v #14 LA SALLE – 9PM

DuquesneLa-SalleAfter a 5-4 start to conference play Duquense appeared to be limping into this week’s tournament, losing eight straight before stunning us all with a road win at Saint Joseph’s, knocking the Hawks off a share of this year’s regular season A-10 championship. Outside of that one and a home win over St. Bonaventure, the Dukes did little to impress, winning their other four games over A-10 bottom feeders. La Salle on the other hand managed to win just four conference games, yet grabbed two of them against teams owning a share of this year’s regular season crown, Dayton and St. Bonaventure.

So who has the advantage in this one?

Well, for starters the Dukes cruised past La Salle in their one and only meeting this season, blasting the Explorers in an 87-60 home rout. Duquesne may also be a bit better than their record suggests, losing six of their last eight by single digits, four of which came at the hands of top-100 squads.

Needless to say I like Duquesne behind Colter and Mason to advance and setup what could be a shootout against a Davidson team that’s gotten the better of them twice already this season.