Game of the Day: Massachusetts @ Rhode Island
One of the deepest backcourts in the nation against LuWane Pipkins, the next up-and-coming star in the A-10? Sign me up for this one. Massachusetts will certainly have its hands full with Rhode Island, as the Rams have played a flawless opening 5 games in league play and get to play host to Matt McCall’s club on Wednesday. However, if there is any team with the dynamics needed to take down the Rams, it may be Massachusetts.
Enter LuWane Pipkins. Having scored 44 points and 27 points in UMass’ previous 2 contests, it’s no secret that he’s been the rock for the Minutemen, especially without Rashaan Holloway as of late. URI is going to have to stop Pipkins from the start, but on the other side of things, a short-handed Massachusetts team just isn’t going to have the energy to hang with URI’s talented backcourt for 40 minutes. I think this game will be closer than many expect, especially if the Rams don’t contain Pipkins, but Rhode Island will move to 6-0 in league play.
Prediction: Rhode Island 80, Massachusetts 73
Dayton @ Saint Joseph’s
This one’s interesting. Both teams have given me plenty of mixed signals this year, and I can’t tell you who the heck is going to come away with this win. Dayton just put up 106 points against VCU, but the Hawks have home wins over VCU and St. Bonaventure already. I guess this one comes down to whoever is hotter from long range, but I feel as if I could pick the winner based on a coin flip… I’ll go with the Hawks at home.
Prediction: Saint Joseph’s 77, Dayton 73
Richmond @ VCU
Any other year, I’d probably have this rivalry game ranked as the “game of the day,” but this is not any other year. The Spiders just picked up their 2nd win in league play over GW, but there still hasn’t been much to celebrate in Richmond this season. VCU will try to bounce back after a defensive meltdown in UD Arena; they should have no issues with UR. Historically, even when the Spiders have been good, things haven’t gone well for them when visiting the Siegel Center; I don’t think that will change, even in a year where the middle-of-the-pack in the Atlantic 10 is becoming one giant cluster of mediocrity.
Prediction: VCU 83, Richmond 66
George Mason @ George Washington
This is actually one of the more interesting matchups of the day for me, as these 2 teams have essentially flip-flopped since the start of league play. GW looked like it could crack the top 8 or 9 after its non-conference slate, and GMU looked doomed, but now the Patriots are on the rise following 2 home wins. It’s been very difficult to win on the road this year in conference play, and in a rivalry game, I expect the Colonials to sneak away.
Prediction: George Washington 70, George Mason 68
Fordham @ La Salle
Poor Fordham hasn’t been able to get anything going, and countless injuries haven’t helped matters at all. It looks like the Rams are destined to the basement of the league, and this should be a much-needed win for a La Salle team that’s been on the wrong side of some close games lately…
Prediction: La Salle 88, Fordham 61
Duquesne @ Saint Louis
This will actually be one off Duquesne’s better tests thus far, as the Dukes will have to go on the road and beat a team other than Fordham to prove its legitimacy. We saw Duquesne hang with VCU for a good portion of its game in the Siegel Center, but the home team prevailed. The Dukes have my vote as a much-improved force in this year’s conference, but some still need convincing. Win this one, and eyes will be opened a bit wider.
Prediction: Duquesne 73, Saint Louis 68