First things first, VCU is 100% in control of their own destiny in terms of Atlantic 10 regular season title hopes, A-10 Tournament Championship hopes and NCAA tournament hopes. VCU is a full game ahead of both Saint Joseph’s and Dayton, not to mention owns a head-to-head tie-breaking win over Saint Joseph’s if they were to need it, so a 4-0 finish to the regular season would equal the Rams first regular season championship since their final season in the CAA and there wouldn’t be a damn thing anyone could do about it.
There are two teams who could lend a major hand to the Rams in their quest for the first of those goals: the regular season title (as well as a top-four seed in Brooklyn). Those teams being Saint Louis AAAAAND…you guessed it…the Richmond Spiders.
Starting with the Billikens. The former A-10 kings finish their schedule with perhaps the most brutal finishing conference stretch, playing three games against top-four teams. SLU hosts 11-3 Dayton tonight, then heads to Philly for a very challenging game against 11-3 Saint Joseph’s and finishes with a home game against 10-4 St. Bonaventure (with a meaningless game against La Salle worked in as well).
While I put next to no faith in an assist from the Billikens, it is worth noting they own solid home wins over both George Washington and Davidson this season. They likely won’t help VCU these final four games with upsets over three of the key teams the Rams are competing with, but a surprise win from Jim Crews’ squad would be a welcome, albeit unlikely assist for the Rams.
Which brings me to Richmond.
Yes, the Spiders are just one game ahead of Saint Louis but have been a more competitive team on the season and own one of the nation’s most efficient offenses, making them a threat to pull off an upset on any given night. They’ll have their first chance at helping their hated rival this Wednesday when hosting George Washington, a team they beat earlier this season in a hard-fought double-overtime road win.
A Spiders win over the Colonials would allow VCU to clinch a top-four seed (meaning a double-bye in Brooklyn) with just one more win, hopefully one they will secure that same night in Fairfax against George Mason.
Following that game UofR heads to Duquesne for a road game we could care less about before returning to Henrico to host the Dayton Flyers.
With the Rams already up one game on UD, Dayton can’t afford many, if any losses. A Spiders win could go a long way for VCU in eventual seeding when competing with the Flyers, a team they’ll play just once this season, a regular season-ending road game at UD Arena.
So GO RAMS and at least for two nights the rest of this season…Go…Spiders.