Things are picking up in the A10 as conference and conference play is will be a a third of the way complete after Wednesday night’s games. Last week I documented my poor picks and the disastrous repercussions of those picks in great detail. Waking up in a recliner with dried queso on your face and a massive hangover is no way to live your life. However, that’s what 4 wins vs. 5 disastrous losses in a week will do to a basketball junkie, especially if that junkie is hanging out with Evan and Jack. A full slate of games Wednesday is an opportunity for redemption and you best believe this guy is going to be chasing that paper once again.
Duquesne at VCU (Line: VCU -12 )
Both of these teams are coming off of big wins last week which makes for some fun speculation and hype heading into the match-up. Duquesne played some inspired ball at home vs. St. Bonaventure on Saturday night and used a 35-27 run over the final 10 minutes to get an impressive victory. VCU won an overtime thriller at Richmond in a game that could have gone either way; a trend of late in the intense intracity rivalry. Duquesne hasn’t won on the road since it beat Western Kentucky in November but it played a good Georgia Tech team tough for 35 minutes in Atlanta. The recent beatdown suffered at George Washington is definitely worth noting and is absolutely lingering with me as I look at this game. The Dukes are still led by Mason and Colter and and continue to be an effective offensive basketball team. However, the trio of Dukes big men, Powell, Gill, and Lewis, combined for 29 points and 18 rebounds against Bona on Saturday. All three big men are over 6-8 and run the floor well. VCU needs to make sure it keeps them from getting run-outs off of bad shots or else Duquesne might be able to hang around for a while. The Dukes have covered the last two times they’ve played VCU, almost beating the Rams outright in Pittsburgh last season. VCU is currently on a 6-0 run against the spread and has upped its efforts on the defensive end of the floor; causing turnovers on 25% of its opponents offensive possessions, good for 4th in the country. 12 is a huge number but the Rams covered it last week against Fordham. I’m going to say VCU can cover it Wednesday night as well.
Temple and La Salle at the Palestra (Line: Temple -9.5)
- The Palestra will host a doubleheader of hoops on Wednesday night and the first game has Temple going up against La Salle as two of Philly’s “Big 5” hit the court. The Explorers came up 11 points short on the road vs. Rhode Island on Saturday but they did manage to pull off the cover and rip my barely beating heart out of my chest in the process. Johnnie Shuler, a 29% shooter from 3-point land, hit 5-7 from deep to help La Salle hang around on the road vs. a far superior team. The Explorers continue to be led by Jordan Price and look for contributions from Roberts and Shuler to help ease the scoring burden off of Price. It hasn’t worked all that well as La Salle is a bad offensive team, currently in or on the cusp of the bottom third in the country in effective field goal %, offensive rebound %, 2 & 3 pt %, and overall offensive efficiency. Less than stellar results to say the least. Temple isn’t going to be mistaken for the Golden State Warriors either so this game will most likely be very defensive and ugly in nature. I would expect nothing less from a these two teams playing in one of the nation’s most iconic arenas. I’m still pissed at La Salle for covering at Rhode Island on Saturday and playing a significant role in me ending up in the fetal position on the floor of my kitchen on Sunday morning. Clouded judgement and grudge holding are two of my strengths so taking Temple in this one is an absolute must.
Davidson at Saint Louis (Line: Davidson -5.5)
- Jack Gibbs. WTF man! Dude is unreal at times. Saturday’s stat line for Gibbs: 43 Pts, 8 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl. He was He’ll be the best player on the court Wednesday and if he is on his game, Davidson should be fine. I don’t know if Sullivan will play for Davidson yet but I’m not counting on it. The bottom line with this game is that Saint Louis is really bad and I can’t see myself betting on them, even if they are getting almost 6 points. The Billikens recently had back-to-back games where they scored a combined 6 field goals in 40 minutes of basketball. At this point, I’m more likely to ask my grandmother to douse herself in baby oil and roll around in an inflatable pool with Kim Jong-un but never say never. I will take Davidson at -5.5 to cover which means Saint Louis will score 48 points in the first half Wednesday night.
George Mason at Fordham (Line: Fordham -4)
- George Mason is coming off its first win in the conference as it went to Saint Louis and scored 92 points. Fordham had a brutal week against VCU and Saint Joe’s; getting outscored by a combined score of 168-109. Mason is 2-7 on the road this year but has put together back-to-back strong performances on the road, nearly upsetting Davidson a week and half ago. Mason is definitely getting better and Fordham has improved from last season but I’m not sure how much. Mason has looked better than Fordham over the past two weeks and may be building some momentum. Everything I’m seeing is telling me to take GMU and the points so I’ll do what is probably going to have me running into walls in my garage at midnight on Wednesday; I’ll take the Rams to cover the 4.
Saint Joseph’s and Penn at the Palestra (Line: Saint Joe’s -8.5)
- I got tried to get cute last week and thought that Joe’s wouldn’t cover the 5 on the road vs. Mason. Joe’s won 87-73. Penn isn’t very good and Joe’s is. I’m sure the Quakers will try to shorten the game and extend possessions as much as possible. Joe’s has covered in 9 out of its last 10 games and has won 3 straight after losing by 3 to VCU at home. The duo of Bembry and Miles is one of the tops in the country and Bembry seems to be rounding into midseason form; coming close to a triple double last week at Mason with 16 points, 11 boards, and 8 assists. I got this line at 8.5 and know that it has jumped up since. Not my problem. I’m taking Joe’s and I’m good with the 8.5.
And remember, if you are dumb enough to take my advice on betting money on the performance of 18-22 year-old college kids; I look forward to hanging with you in the garage. The beer is always cold and the walls are surprisingly sturdy. Now let’s go get that $$$$$$!