The Davidson Wildcats all but locked up a top-4 seed in this year’s Atlantic 10 tournament last night. That’s bad news for VCU because it means they did so at our expense, pretty much dominating the Rams on the Siegel Center floor in a game that would’ve put VCU in the driver’s seat for the No.2 seed in this year’s Atlantic 10 race. Instead, the Rams dropped to 7-6, currently even with Richmond and Saint Louis in the battle for fourth.
VCU officially needs some help, but it’s not an unimaginable amount of help.
There are two pretty clear paths for what I think is the key to VCU locking up a double-bye in DC.
PATH No.1: RAMS LOSE ONE LESS GAME THAN RICHMOND
Richmond’s closing schedule should look like a thing of beauty for a Spider team looking to finish in the top-4.
v Saint Louis (who just suspended one of their top players)
@ George Washington
v Saint Joseph’s
@ George Mason
That means the two remaining top-200 teams left on UofR’s schedule (No.136 SLU & No.146 St. Joe’s) must beat the Spiders at the Robins Center. Both are losable games for Richmond, but the Spiders will likely be the Vegas favorite in both contests. Kenpom.com currently has the Spiders at 1-point favorite in each, but predicts Richmond will lose both road contests.
I’m not so sure that happens.
Either way, if VCU can manage one less loss than the Spiders, we’re likely good to go barring some unexpected run from a Jordan Goodwin-less Saint Louis team.
PATH No.2: BEAT BONA AND SEE WHAT ELSE HAPPENS
VCU has one more shot at a key head-to-head tie-breaker game and that comes on Feb 24 against St. Bonaventure at the Stu. Before that game Bona has two tricky home contests against Rhode Island (who beat them by 14 earlier in the year) and Duquesne (who they beat earlier this season on a buzzer-beater).
v Rhode Island
That is a murderers row right there in terms of this year’s A-10 and it features three of the conference’s top-5 2p% offenses against the league’s 11th-ranked 2p% D.
VCU MUST GO STREAKING
If there’s one thing we can say about this VCU team, it is they have been extremely predictable. Check out how the Rams have faired against the different levels of team talent this season.
Team Ranking (record)
Of VCU’s five remaining games, four are against sub-200 teams. That starts Saturday at No.220 GW, a team VCU beat earlier this season by 24 points. The Rams follow that up at No.209 UMass, losers of seven of their last eight games including a Valentine’s Day double-digit home loss to GW. VCU gets No.225 Mason at the Stu after having defeated them by 8 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score suggests earlier this season in Fairfax. Lastly the Rams head to the Bronx for a rematch with No.272 Fordham, a team VCU beat by 13 earlier this season.
Long story short on that, the Rams would have to do something they haven’t done all season to NOT win four of their final five games, which is lose to a sub-200 team.
Win those games, then defeat No.66 St. Bonaventure at the Stu and the Rams are in really good shape. That’s a 12-6 record that would give both Richmond and St. Bonaventure zero margin for error. None.
However, win just one of the Rams’ remaining five and the black and gold still have a shot, but would need Richmond to fall to their kenpom predicted 10-8, which is not a chance the Rams will want to take.