Last night VCU did what they had to do and got a little help as well in a wild night of A-10 hoops that now has the Rams in fourth place in the A-10 standings and in control of their own destiny in the race for a double-bye in DC.
VCU outlasted the UMass Minutemen, 82-78, then saw the Georges assist the black and gold with a pair of wild wins that bumped VCU into their current seed rank.
Just as they had done to VCU, George Washington made easy work of the Richmond Spiders, defeating UofR 103-77 in what’s been the most impressive three-game stretch of GW basketball Colonial fans have probably seen in some time. Maurice Joseph’s team may be 11th in the current league standings, but they’ve won their last three games by an average margin of 20.3 points per contest.
The Colonials win over Richmond knocked the now 7-8 Spiders a game back behind VCU’s current 8-7 mark, crucial for a Rams team that is on the wrong end of the head-to-head tie-breaker against Chris Mooney and Co.
Just north of that game saw one of the most shocking results of the night, with George Mason stunning Saint Joseph’s thanks to a buzzer-beater three. The Patriots win moved VCU one game ahead of Saint Joseph’s as well. Like with Richmond, the Hawks head-to-head tie-breaker over VCU is currently useless thanks to SJU’s new sub-500 record at 7-8.
Shortly after that contest the Rams got a little help from the Dayton Flyers, as UD rallied back to defeat Saint Louis in UD Arena, bumping the Billikens back to 8-7 in conference action, tied with only VCU, but this time with the Rams sitting on the right side of the head-to-head tie-breaker, having defeated Saint Louis in St. Louis in the only meeting between these two this season.
All of that puts VCU exactly where they need to be in order to avoid having to win an extra game in DC and with just three games to play.
The Rams and Billikens share a common opponent, both hosting St. Bonaventure during their final three contests. SLU also hosts the red-hot George Washington Colonials and travels to Duquesne to take on a tricky Dukes squad under first year head coach, Keith Dambrot.
VCU will host St. Bonaventure this weekend before taking on both George Mason and Fordham, two teams the Rams have defeated fairly convincingly once each this season. The black and gold host GMU then travel to the Bronx to end their regular season at Fordham.
Four teams sit at 7-8 in the current standings, a game behind VCU and SLU.
Saint Joseph’s and Richmond are a part of that group and are the two that hold head-to-head tie-breakers over the Rams. The good news for VCU is that duo must play each, meaning a guaranteed loss for for one of them.
After playing Richmond at the Robins Center, the Hawks must go to Kensington, RI for a date with conference leader Rhode Island. They finish the season at home against city rival, La Salle.
Richmond has the easier path on paper of those two, hosting both SJU and UMass before traveling to George Mason in a rematch of the Patriots Robins Center upset on Feb 3.
The Flyers don’t have a head-to-head advantage on VCU and have road games remaining at Rhode Island and La Salle, then finish their season at home against GW.
Mason must travel to VCU but also has that game against Richmond, meaning another guaranteed loss for one in the 7-8 chase pack. The Patriots must first get past what we’ve learned is a tricky UMass team this weekend.
Kenpom predicts a 3-point home loss for the Rams this Saturday against St. Bonaventure then has VCU winning by five or more points in their final two contests as of this posting.
The Rams are just 1-7 this season against current top-100 teams heading into Saturday’s matchup against No.68 St. Bonaventure. The Rams are however 8-0 against current sub-200 teams and follow their St. Bonaventure matchup with games against No.213 George Mason and No.273 Fordham.