This week’s most important games

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George Washington did themselves a huge favor this week when picking up an unexpected road win over what was the league’s hottest team: VCU. Doing so kept GW within the league’s top-four while dropping the Rams into a tie for first with Dayton.

Every game is important (see: Dayton at La Salle, GW at SLU), but the following games of the week are the ones I think you’ll want to watch as teams battle for a top-four seed in Brooklyn.

WEDNESDAY

St. Bonaventure at Fordham 
The Bonnies avoided what would have been a disastrous home loss at the hands of Saint Louis, getting the win thanks to a Jaylen Adams (not to be confused with Jaylen Brown) three-pointer at the buzzer. For the time being that puts the Bonnies tied for fourth heading into what I think is a tricky road game at Rose Hill. While I think ultimately Bona has too much offense for this Fordham team, don’t be shocked if the Rams pull off their first top-100 win of the season on Wednesday night.

Saint Joseph’s at George Washington
The Colonials head into this one as a confident group after three straight wins including back-to-back wins over last year’s regular season (Davidson) and conference tourney champs (VCU). The Hawks have been one of the most consistent and balanced teams in the conference and will hope to pick up their best road win of the season. Winner will own a head-to-head tie-breaker over the other while the loser will drop out of the current top-four baring a Fordham upset over St. Bonaventure. Must-see TV right here.

THURSDAY

VCU at UMass (ESPNU)
My gut tells me VCU heads into this one as a close to double-digit favorite, and based off previous road results should be capable of cover that. But I’m curious to see how the Rams respond after their recent home loss. VCU is road-tested and dangerous, but I’m still putting the Rams on upset alert due to this being a road game on ESPNU.

FRIDAY

Dayton at Rhode Island (ESPN2)
The Rams are banged up but welcome the league’s No.1 to Kingston for a Friday night ESPN2 tip that could be one of those special nights for Hurley and Co. If I’m betting the mortgage I’m putting it down on the Flyers, but with the Rams’ backs against the wall don’t be stunned if Rhody can put one of their better recent performances together. If they don’t they could easily get run out of their own gym while dropping to 5-6 in conference play. Rhody needs this win, desperately.

SATURDAY

George Washington at St. Bonaventure
Two teams currently tied for fourth in the A-10, this is the only game they play against each other this season. Someone is getting a head-to-head tie-breaker and a big win toward staying in the top-four of this conference. This should be a battle.

TOUGHEST WEEK: George Washington

See above. The Colonials have an incredibly difficult week ahead with two very tough games that could go a long way toward deciding their A-10 regular season fate.

LAST WEEK’S BIG WINNER: George Washington

Tough road ahead but a very successful week in the rearview mirror. The home win over Davidson was expected but that road win at VCU earned GW serious bonus points, both within the A-10 race and toward any at-large hopes (top-50 road win).

LAST WEEK’S BIG LOSER: Richmond

At 3-5 the Spiders had to avoid slip-ups with what looked like a very favorable schedule ahead of them. Dropping a home game to George Mason may have been a death blow to any hopes of finishing within the A-10’s top-four with games remaining against Davidson, VCU, GW Dayton and Duquesne, not to mention a road trip to Fairfax to end their regular season against a Patriots team that just handed UofR their worst loss of the season.

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About Author

Mat Shelton-Eide has been involved in college athletics since 2007, starting as a co-founder of VCURamNation.com where he covered the Rams all the way to Houston as the one-time CAA darling shocked the hoops world with a historic run to the Final 4. He has worked within two Atlantic 10 athletic departments, first as a graduate assistant in the VCU Sports Information Department during the '09-'10 basketball season, then after receiving his M.Ed. from VCU's Center for Sport Leadership, as a ticketing and marketing intern in the University of Richmond's athletic department during the inaugural season of Richmond's Robins Stadium, months before the Spiders 2011 Sweet 16 run.

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