Atlantic 10 Wednesday Preview: St. Joe’s tries for a key win at GW

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Game of the Night

George Washington Colonials vs. St. Joseph’s Hawks – 7 ET

This is a crucial matchup for both teams as it holds major NCAA tournament implications. At 18-5 (7-3 A-10), George Washington currently sits on the right side of the bracketology rankings. On the other hand, St. Joe’s is still in search of a signature win to impress the selection committee. This game provides the Hawks with that opportunity.

On paper, these two teams are very evenly matched. Both have KenPom top-100 offenses, above average turnover margins and above average free throw percentages. The numbers suggest that the game will be decided on GW’s offense vs. SJU’s defense, rather than the other way around. The Colonials possess an offensive efficiency rating of 111.0 (43rd nationally) to the Hawks’ defensive efficiency rating of 95.5 (37th nationally). That means that GW is scoring 111.0 points per 100 possessions while SJU is allowing 95.5 points per 100 defensive possessions. It’s gonna come down to which side budges the most.

An interesting one-on-one matchup to watch will be George Washington’s Patricio Garino vs. St. Joseph’s DeAndre’ Bembry. Garino is coming off his best offensive game of the season, scoring 27 points in his team’s win over VCU this past weekend. Bembry is an All-Atlantic 10 caliber forward that looks like the only player in the A-10 that could get drafted this offseason. Is there a chance that these two forces nullify each other or are both primed for a stellar performance?

This is a game that St. Joe’s would really, really like to have. Because its being played in D.C., the win would have extra weight for this Hawks team. KenPom favors the Colonials with a 59% chance of victory, but regardless this should be a dogfight. Make sure to tune in to CSN-MA if you’re in the area or A10 Network online to watch this one.

Elsewhere in A-10 Action

Fordham Rams vs. St. Bonaventure Bonnies – 7 ET

After following up an impressive win over St. Joe’s with a buzzer-beater victory over SLU, St. Bonaventure seems to have reinserted themselves back into the NCAA tournament conversation, at least for the time being. The Bonnies have won three-straight and will try to make it four when they take on Fordham.

From a statistical standpoint, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a win for St. Bona. They are superior in points per game, rebounds per game and free throw percentage, among other various categories. I’m looking for a big game out of Marcus Posley, who is coming off a 15-point, 5-rebound, 6-assist performance against SLU. The senior should be a major component of the Bonnies’ offensive attack against the Rams. St. Bona should take care of business here and remain in the conversation for an NCAA tournament bid.

Davidson Wildcats vs. La Salle Explorers – 7 ET

If we’re being frank here, La Salle is not a good basketball team. The Explores have a bottom-100 offense and defense, and have just one win in A-10 play. That being said, Davidson hasn’t been too impressive either. The Wildcats have underperformed the majority of the season, despite the efforts of scoring machine Jack Gibbs. Still, I expect Davidson to handle the lowly Explorers at the hands of Gibbs and underrated forward Peyton Aldridge.

St. Louis Billikens vs. Richmond Spiders – 8 ET

Richmond’s run at the NCAA tournament may be over, but they have enough on their resume to put them in contention for an NIT berth. Terry Allen has become one of the best players in the conference and continues to evolve into a more complete player each game. I’d expect him to put on a dominating performance against SLU’s 179th nationally ranked defense.

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Huge college basketball fan. Co-owner/writer @ A10Talk.com (@A10Talk). Formerly ran The Groce Report (@TheGroceReport), wrote for SB Nation’s BT Powerhouse, and SB Nation's The Champaign Room. Davidson Wildcat, forever bleeding Orange and Blue.

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