There are three games tonight and three double-digit favorites: SLU is a 17-point dog at Dayton, UMass is getting 13.5 at Saint Joseph’s and Fordham heads to Kingston a 10-point underdog to Dan Hurley’s squad. Needless to say, I like none of the road teams tonight.
However, if I’m Lloyd Christmas, I’m saying there’s a chance with Neubauer’s Rams tonight. Maybe.
Truth be told, I guess what I’m actually just hoping for as an A-10 fan is that fist breakout win of the Neubauer era in the Bronx.
The Rams started the season with a 9-2 non-conference record and a little sizzle but have been insanely predictable since, winning all but one game (Boston College) against kenpom sub-200 squads, accounting for all of Fordham’s 11 wins on the season. Conversely they have gone 0-6 against the top-100 and sit at 0-4 on the season in true road games thus far. They were blown out in two of those contests — at VCU, at Saint Joseph’s — but battled back from down 15 at the half at GW and fell at UT Arlington in a close one that again required a double-digit comeback.
The Rams are due.
They will steal one somewhere, just as hapless La Salle downed Dayton, or how SLU now owns wins over both GW and Davidson.
Fordham is better than both of those teams.
Their fourth-ranked A-10 strength of schedule up to this point however gets no easier tonight against what might be an oddly-underrated Rhode Island team that currently checks in at No.3 in conference in adjusted offensive efficiency and No.5 in adjusted defensive efficiency in A-10 play. Only league-leader VCU can also claim to be in the top-five in both.
The two teams met twice last season, Rhody winning both but by a combined four points.
Tonight could very well be the ideal opportunity for Neubauer to pull a surprise win, reminding fans of the promise his Rams showed during non-conference play when they won eight of their nine games by double-digits, not-to-mention strung together one of the conference’s longest winning streaks at nine games.
To do so however will require improved in-conference play.
The Rams seem to have padded their stats in the OOC, earning a top-85 effective field goal percentage offense (51.9%) thanks to improved shooting all over the court. Their A-10 number is another however, connecting on an EFG% of 47.6%, seeing their out-of-conference three-point heat chill out for an ice-cold 28.6% A-10 mark that currently ranks dead last in the conference.
I’ve seen enough hoops and looked at enough numbers of seasons past to expect a team like this Fordham squad to hit that mean sooner or later.
An upset or two over their next five games — six of which are against A-10 top-100s — would work wonders for a Fordham team who’s scheduled finishes much more manageable than it starts.
Fordham needs a breakthrough win, as a team and a program looking for a reason to be optimistic. What better time than tonight to do it?