Fabulously Bad Bets

2-2 on Wednesday?  Hell yea!  It felt like 32-0 after a 1-3 run the week before.  We have a monster Saturday ahead of us.  Time to get to it!

George Washington at VCU (Line:  VCU -10)

High noon in Richmond on Saturday will feature a pair of 17-5 teams in contention for the conference championship.  VCU has handled GW easily in Richmond over the past three years with an average margin of victory of 23 points in those games.  Of course, those past victories are about as valuable as a screen door on a submarine when it comes to Saturday’s game.

GW is coming off of a nice home win vs. Davidson in which it closed out the Wildcats 23-15 over the final 10 minutes of the game to secure the win.  VCU handled La Salle about as easily as expected.  Nine points seems kind of high to me on this one just because VCU fouls quite a bit and GW is shooting free throws at a 76% rate this season, good for 12th in the country.  VCU is shooting 67% which is good for 14th place in the conference.  Larsen and Cavanaugh are big fellas who can pass out of the high post and Cavanaugh is deadly from the top of the arc from 3-point range.  VCU had a bit of a breakout game from Johnny Williams on Wednesday night as he scored 14 points on 6-6 shooting from the floor. Melvin Johnson made 8 3-pointers including a couple from Princeton but that wasn’t his first rodeo. Melvin has a shot named, “The Melvin.”  I don’t need to go on.

VCU has given GW trouble when it has sped up the Colonials in Richmond.  I’m not sure VCU will have as much luck in that department this go around.  VCU has been wearing opponents down this season with its depth. Nine or ten players, depending on if Jordan Burgess returns from a broken finger, will see action on Saturday.  This game should be closer than 10 points if GW can get Cavanaugh the ball consistently and Larsen and Garino stay out of foul trouble.  I’m thinking this game is either a tight one or VCU beats the tar out of GW again like it has in the past in Richmond.  If GW loses today, it would be 4 games behind VCU in the A-10.  I don’t know if it has enough to get the win on the road but I could see GW hanging with VCU, at least by 9 points.  I’ll take GW +10.

Davidson at Duquesne (Line:  Duquesne -2)

Davidson is hurting after losing back-to-back games to VCU and GW.  Duquesne is quietly having a solid year and hanging around the “Top 4” of the conference.  This could be the best game on the slate for the A10 on Saturday. Davidson can’t afford to lose 3 straight games and Duquesne wants to stay in contention for “Top 4” status.

This game is all about guards with Gibbs and Sullivan going up against Colter and Mason.  The Dukes have an edge with their bigs but Davidson has an advantage when it comes to ball movement.  Neither of these teams has been good defensively this season so the over at 167 is really the play I’d make.  I’m going to take Duquesne though to get the win.  I don’t like this pick because I can’t see Jack Gibbs and Davidson with a 3-game losing streak.  I could see him shooting large balls of fire out his ass or successfully writing the letter z in cursive(don’t know anyone who can pull that bad boy off) but I’m going with the Dukes at home anyway.

Saint Joe’s at Fordham (Line:  Saint Joe’s -7)

Wednesday night saw Jaylen “don’t call me Brown” Adams go HAM on the Hawks, scoring 31 points and dishing out 7 assists in the Bonnies 10 point victory in Philly.  It was a brutal loss for Joe’s but not a season-ender by any means.  A win on Saturday and Joe’s will still be in the “Top 4” and on the bubble for the Big Dance in March.

The duo of Bembry and Miles needs some help from the rest of the Hawks family.  Too many secondary players for Joe’s go quiet for long stretches during games. Bembry and Miles are usually good enough to bail them out but the other night they ran into an offensive juggernaut and it killed the Hawks.  It also didn’t help getting outscored 23-12 over the final 9 minutes of the 1st half.

A loss at Fordham could mean that wheels are close to falling off the bus for the Hawks and the lack of a quality contributors has finally caught up to Phil Martelli’s bunch.  I don’t think that is the case and I like the Hawks to get the win on the road. This line jumped from 5 to 7 today and I definitely liked it a lot more at 5.  An 8-point win on the road isn’t a gimme by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m weary doing it but I’ll take Joe’s and the 7.

Dayton at George Mason (Line:  Dayton -10)

The young bunch from Fairfax rolled down I-95 on Wednesday and laid the smack down on UR like a bunch of Ike Turners.  Dayton hasn’t played since its game against La Salle last Saturday when the Explorers held the ball longer than a dominatrix getting paid by the minute.

I love this Dayton team and it is one of the more underrated programs in the country in my opinion. The Flyers can beat you in a variety ways and they can do it from all over the court.  The continued development of Steve McElevene has provided Dayton with a legit center who can shut down the middle of the paint with his shot blocking and altering length.  Watching him go up against GMU’s Shevon Thompson will be a sneaky good match-up to watch in this game.  GMU is getting better.  Its freshman are pretty damn good and Paulsen is a terrific coach.  I thin Dayton wins this game but the Flyers haven’t been incredible on the road against the spread this year.  However, Dayton has had six days to prepare for GMU while the Patriots will be playing their third game in seven days.  Dayton is holding conference opponents to 64 points a game and George Mason is averaging only 66 points per game thus far in the season.

Defense travels and I could see a scenario play out where the Flyers stingy D gives the young Patriots fits and allows Dayton to get some easy buckets in transition.  Dayton should definitely win this game and will probably do so by more than 10 points.  Therefore,  I’ll be taking GMU and laying that big fat 10 on the table like a blackjack dealer at the MGM.  This is a really stupid play here as everything screams Flyers by a ton in this game.

Massachusetts at Richmond (Line:  Richmond -11 )

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came a 4-game losing streak and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And that is because Richmond got to play the Minutemain
What is Richmond going to do?  Times are tough right now in the land of the Spiders as Richmond has fallen to 3-6 in the Atlantic 10.  The Spiders have a triumvirate in Allen, Cline, and Jones that is as good as any in the conference.  Freshman Khwan Fore has made a name for himself with his freakish athleticism and and ability to get to the rim in an instant.  But UR keeps losing and what looked like a promising season 3 weeks ago now seems like a slow a and painful march towards obscurity.
But UMass is already in the land of obscurity, even after beating a couple of Rhode Island starters, a Dunkin Doughnuts cashier, and Statey who requested to remain nameless this week.  Poor freaking Rhode Island!  Injuries are the worst.  I hate them!  But I digress yet again.  This isn’t a game that anyone is going to give a crap about and rightfully so.  UMass has some juice now after getting a win a breaking its 7-game losing streak, a cover on the road seems very doable for the Minutemen.  Richmond just keeps getting worse each game and was embarrassed at home by GMU on Wednesday night.  I actually want to take UR and lay the 11 points tonight just because UMass has screwed me worse than BP did the Louisiana Bayou.  I’ll get back to taking the Spiders once they get a win and I think UR gets off the schneid tonight.  I just can’t take a team on a 4-game losing streak to cover 11. Even if it is against a stinker of a a Umass team.  Minutemen +11 is where the cash is headed tonight.
 Rhode Island at La Salle (Line: none)
Hmmmmm.  This game smells like my boxers after “$1 Taco Night” at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant.  No bueno señor; no bueno.
This obviously has to do with the status of Garrett and Iverson.  If they play, I’ll take Rhody to win on the money line.  If Rhody has to play another game with 3 starters, I’m just staying the hell away from this one.
There is a bunch of hoops headed our way today and I’ll be seeing two games in person and most of the others via phone or computer.  Last Saturday was a complete shit show and one of my kids was almost sold on Ebay.  Hopefully today gets us some better results. Now, let us go forth into that….eh, GO GET THAT CASH BABY!
Brian Keiper is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a M.Ed from University of Richmond. He teaches, coaches, and spends way too mu...