Greg’s Game of the Week: Week 2

The first week of conference games is in the books and we’re down to four unbeaten conference teams. Four other teams are still waiting on their first conference win while half of the league sits at .500. In the preseason, I assumed the conference would be tight and there’s no indication otherwise. Perhaps this week we’ll see teams separate themselves. Here’s what’s on deck:

Wednesday, January 16
Richmond at #13 Butler
Temple at George Washington
Dayton at La Salle
Fordham at Charlotte
Xavier at St. Bonaventure

Thursday, January 17
Duquesne at Massachusetts
Saint Joseph’s at #22 VCU

Saturday, January 19
Rhode Island at Saint Louis
St. Bonaventure at Temple
La Salle at Xavier
George Washington at Massachusetts
Charlotte at Richmond
#22 VCU at Duquesne

I had some trouble figuring out which game would be my game of the week. I’ll be honest, none of the matchups seem all that exciting this week, except for Gonzaga at Butler, but I want to limit this to conference games. I thought about the Richmond game at Butler, since it’ll be interesting to see how Butler adjusts without Rotnei Clarke, who was injured by a flagrant foul by Dayton’s Derenbecker. Ultimately, I decided I don’t want to feature a Butler game two weeks in a row. Thus, this week’s game of the week is Fordham at Charlotte. Fordham (1-1) has been more competitive in its first two conference games than I anticipated, and Charlotte (2-0) has been more competitive all season than I anticipated. I think it’ll be a close game.

The Rundown: Fordham

Fordham (5-12, 1-1) is a curious case, having struggled throughout the season until beating Duquesne by seven and narrowly losing to Massachusetts by four. The Rams are led by Brenden Frazier (no, not Encino Man), who is averaging 16.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. That’s an increase from almost 12 points per game last season, when Fordham lost to Charlotte at home by seven. However, the Rams only have one other player with a scoring average in double digits.

The Rundown: Charlotte

Charlotte (14-2, 2-0) looks to keep its perfect conference record. Led by Chris Braswell with 11.9 points per game, the 49ers only have one other player averaging double digits (DeMario Mayfield – 10.9 ppg). The key to Charlotte’s season has been balance, with eight players averaging more than 15 minutes and only one player, Pierra Henry, averaging more than 30 minutes.

The Smack:

If history is any indication, the 49ers should be 3-0 in conference on Thursday morning, as Fordham only has one win against Charlotte in the history of the series, and Charlotte is 4-0 at home. However, although Charlotte has the better record, the Rams have faced tougher tests than the 49ers. Fordham’s SOS is #150, compared to Charlotte’s SOS of #294. Pretty easy to rack up the wins when you play bad teams. The Rams also have Branden Frazier, who is 1st in the A-10 in points and 36th nationally in assists. On the other hand, Charlotte has a significantly better RPI than Fordham (#85 vs. #244), has a better scoring average (45.9% vs. 41.1%), and has a better scoring defense (61.5 vs. 73.7 allowed per game).

Matt Morton is a graduate of VCU and a cloud computing expert. He is a devoted college hoops fan and has been covering college hoops on the side since...