VCU’s win over GW paired with a UMass loss last night put the Rams in sole possession for eighth in the current A-10 standings. The Rams are currently favored to finish in that position by kenpom, a predicted 9-9 A-10 record. Pomeroy has the Rams a favorite at home against Duquesne, but with the Rams recent roster news, that is certainly far from a gimme against the 20-win Dukes that sit 10-6 in conference play at the moment, then sees VCU losing at Davidson, a Wildcats team VCU made easy work of earlier this season, but a squad that hasn’t lost a home game since January 14 against Richmond, their only home loss of the season.
Owning a new head-to-head tie-breaker over GW and sitting two games ahead of the Colonials in the standings, the Rams can finish no lower than ninth — that is no brag, it pains me to type that — so are currently staring down an Atlantic 10 path that would pit the Rams against the No.4 nationally ranked Dayton Flyers.
VCU fans, I get that you like a challenge, but if you enjoy stats/facts and are looking for the best shot at multiple party nights in Brooklyn and…god willing…a possible A-10 tourney championship, trust me, you want off that line.
The Flyers currently rank sixth nationally on kenpom with an adjusted efficiency margin of +23.71, which is…a problem.
Only one A-10 team since kenpom has tracked the stat has matched that number: the Jameer Nelson-led 2004 Saint Joseph’s Hawks that finished 30-2 and earned a No.1 seed in the ’04 NCAA tournament. Yes, I am aware that that Hawks team lost their only game in that season’s A-10 tournament, falling to eventual tourney champ, Xavier, but statistically it’s not a feat VCU will want to attempt to match…at least on a Friday in Brooklyn. Sunday would be a preferable date, if possible.
So how does VCU get off that line and on to the 6/7?
The answer is simple with just two games left to play: win out.
It doesn’t matter what Davidson does at Richmond on Tuesday. If VCU defeats Duquesne on senior night, then goes down to Belk and upsets Davidson, the two teams would finish the season with at best eight losses each, but VCU having the head-to-head tie-breaker via two wins over Bob McKillop and Co. and would move into the top half of the conference and up off of the Dayton line. If Davidson loses both their remaining contests, VCU could technically lose to Duquesne, but then still jump Davidson with a win over the Wildcats via the head-to-head tie-breakers and as well would take the top spot if, by some chance UMass won their last two (which would included a win over Rhode Island), over a group of VCU, Davidson and UMass if a tie-breaker would be needed in that scenario.
So as hard as it might be to do, you’ll want to root for the Richmond Spiders to hold serve at home against Davidson while VCU is hosting Duquesne. A Wildcats win on Tuesday paired with a VCU loss would lock the Rams into the 8/9 line and a path that would included two noon games to start VCU’s A-10 path in Brooklyn, should VCU win their first game.
Statistically speaking, you don’t want to be on Dayton’s line and for selfish fun-related reasons, as someone attending the tournament, I have no interest in playing at noon as opposed to 6PM or 8:30PM where the possible post-game celebration is much more preferable.
Back on Feb 16 I predicted the A-10 bracket (which you can see here), diving into each team’s remaining schedule and predicting outcomes and tie-breakers. Back then I predicted a loss at either UMass or Duquesne and then a road loss at Davidson. UMass grabbed that early upset to make us a favorite to finish on that 8/9 line instead of the 6/7. I’m hoping VCU can prove me wrong by beating BOTH Duquesne and Davidson, but especially Davidson, to give VCU a much more preferable path through Brooklyn.
The Rams have yet to really win a game they weren’t supposed to this season. What better time to start doing that than right now?