St. Bonaventure will be hosting LaSalle in the first game, which tips off on CBS College Sports Network at 5pm. St. Bonaventure follows the lead of forward Andrew Nicholson, who averages 21 and 7 for the Bonnies. The Bonnies offense was second in the conference in getting to the line this year, third in 3P%, and fourth in 2P% and FT%. They struggled to keep hold of the ball, ranking 12th in the A-10 in turnover percentage. Defensively, there's not really a category in which the Bonnies are any better than mediocre. LaSalle is the top offensive rebounding team in the conference and second best from the free throw stripe. The Explorers are worst in the league in avoiding blocked shots and 12th in 2P%. Their defense has looked overmatched all year, surrendering the second-worst 2P% in the league and clocking in at 11th in defending the glass.
|Temple took home last year's tourney crown.|
St. Joseph's plays George Washington on CBS College Sports Network at 7pm. The Hawks are down this year and have earned a #12 seed to prove it. Their 3P% is 9th in the conference and 2P% is 10th, and they have the league's worst 3P% defense. They are the worst team in the league at getting offensive rebounds, but they do turn the ball over less than any other A-10 team. Guards Carl Jones (17 PPG) and Langston Galloway (12.8 PPG) lead the way for the Hawks, and both of them shoot over 39% from deep. This probably worries GW, who has the 12th ranked 3P% defense. They make up for it with the fourth best 2P% defense and the 3rd best defense at blocking shots. Their offense is second best in the conference at grabbing offensive boards but only 12th from the stripe. Guard Tony Taylor leads the team with 14.8 PPG, and 6'8" matchup nightmare Nemanja Mikic hits 45% of his threes.
The January 8th game between these two teams is ancient history, but GW won it 78-71 at St. Joseph's. Carl Jones led all scorers with 23, but Taylor posted 20 and the Colonials crushed St. Joseph's 43-28 on the glass. If Jones and Galloway get hot, the upset is possible, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't GW taking on Duquesne when Friday comes around.
|He's on the right, with the baby face.|
Given the tenor of the article to this point, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that the last game between these two teams was an ugly 59-57 win for URI. Jordair Jett went off for 14 points, but Delroy James' 21 on 10-19 from the floor helped the Rams prevail. Billikens not named Jordair Jett shot 16-50/4-21/7-9, which is not good. Neither team recorded double-digit assists or turnovers, which tells me the game was probably really boring to watch. This time around, I don't see St. Louis being able to stop Rhode Island from advancing.
|Winner here gets Tu and Dante.|
These two teams played at UMass January 9th, and it was even uglier than the StL/URI game. There were only 16 turnovers, but the teams combined to shoot 28-100 from the floor and 7-38 from three. Josh Benson contrived to foul out in 16 minutes; Devin Searcy responded to the challenge by fouling out in 10. The only reason either team cracked 40 points was the combined 55 free throw the teams attempted. UMass converted 29 of their 36 FTA and snuck away with a 55-50 win and a heaping dose of shame. Though they sport identical 7-9 conference records, I feel like UD has been a little unlucky and UMass has been a little lucky in getting there this year. Combined with the fact that it just doesn't feel like a season without three UD-XU games, I think UD edges the Minutemen in this one.
That's the brief(ish) rundown on the campus-site games of the A-10 tourney. I have boldly picked the top three seeded teams to move on and rolled the dice on an upset in the 8/9 game. These games all stand a chance of being hotly contested, but I'd be surprised if there was a single home team that didn't have a tournament-type atmosphere to feed off of. With the conference tournament season in full swing, it's time for work productivity to dip as basketball immersion becomes total. Let's go X!