With a 12-point lead late against Richmond last night, the Rams snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and perhaps critically injured their hopes of a top-4 bid in this year’s A-10 tournament in DC and a three-game path toward March. Richmond’s sweep of the Rams effectively gives the Spiders the head-to-head tie-breaker in the series and thus puts UofR essentially two games ahead of VCU despite being just one game up on VCU’s 6-5 record with a 7-4 mark themselves.
The Rams path to a double-bye is a difficult one and one they will most likely need help with, but it’s far from impossible at this point in the season.
VCU’s CONTROLLED DESTINY PATH BONA PATH
The black and gold sit just one game behind St. Bonaventure who’s currently tied with Richmond at 7-4 in league play. If VCU can defeat Bona in the Siegel Center on February 24 then win the rest of their games or just as many as Bona wins outside of that meeting with VCU, Rhoades and Co. can avoid Thursday in DC and have a three-game path to an A-10 tourney title. The Bonnies do have some tricky games remaining, with three losable road games at La Salle, VCU and Saint Louis and host some tough teams in Richmond, Rhode Island, Duquesne and Davidson. Kenpom currently has the Bonnies the favorite in all but one of their remaining games, a Feb 16 home contest against Rhode Island.
THE OL’ SPIDER SLIP PATH
The Spiders have back-to-back road games coming up at Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure. They are major computer underdogs in both, getting less than a 13% chance to pull off either upset by kenpom. That means by as early as next weekend the Rams could have leapfrogged UofR in the conference standings if VCU can hold serve at home against Dayton and Davidson. From that point on the Rams would obviously have to lose just one less game than Richmond throughout the remainder of their games. The Rams do get their toughest games at home and their easiest ones on the road, but after these next two the same applies to Richmond. The Spiders will host SLU, St. Joe’s and UMass and travel to both GW and Mason. Mason upset Richmond this past weekend and could end up helping VCU once more in the Patriots regular season finale.
THE DAVIDSON COLLAPSE PATH
Davidson is currently in a very good spot, sitting solo at second in the league at 8-3. But here’s the catch: their remaining schedule is legit.
@ Rhode Island
v Rhode Island
There are five very losable games left on that schedule which would put the Cats at a likely worst-case 10-8 finish, but perhaps a more likely 11-7 worst-case finish. If VCU can match Davidson at 11-7 but have one of those seven Cats losses come at the hands of the Rams, that would give VCU the head-to-head tie-breaking trump card.