The Richmond Spiders (12-5, 5-3) take on the Massachusetts Minutemen (7-4, 6-2) this evening at the Robins Center (6:00/ESPN+). This is a matchup that was originally scheduled to be played at the Mullins Center this season, but was recently added when the A10 shifted the schedule around (which Mooney wasn’t too happy about). The Spiders won last year’s meeting at the Robins Center by a score of 95-71. This marks the 22nd all-time meeting between the two schools, with Richmond leading the series 14-7.
Richmond is coming off a much needed win against Duquesne this past Saturday, while UMass hasn’t played since February 6th. When I asked Jacob Gilyard if a different strategy was involved when playing against a team fresh off a Covid pause, he stated that he didn’t even know that Duquesne was on a pause. This tells you that no, the Spiders did not have a different strategy this past Saturday, and we can expect the same tonight. Interior defense was one of the very few bad spots for Richmond on Saturday, and they will need to try to right that against Tre Mitchell. If Richmond can control the boards, this game should swing heavily in their favor.
As we inch closer and closer to March, Richmond once again sits on the bubble. Joe Lunardi currently has them listed in the “First Four Out” slot as of Sunday. Without many regular season opportunities to get a resume boosting win, all the Spiders need to focus on is winning. Ending the season with home games against UMass and Saint Joseph’s bodes well for their chances of winning out, with the big challenge happening on Friday night as they hit the road to take on Saint Louis for the 1st time this season.
My prediction for tonight’s matchup is another Richmond victory. Final score prediction is Richmond 80 – UMass 70. As always, I will be there live covering this game for A10Talk, so make sure to follow along on Twitter at @AustinDaisey11 & @A10Talk. See you tonight Spider Nation!