Tonight's A-10 slate, for lack of better phrasing, serves as VCUs halftime show. The Rams closed out its first half of the conference season at 6-2 with Saturday's win over Fordham. Everyone sitting at seven conference games plays tonight to level the games played and end their first half.
Butler, Charlotte, and St. Louis all play tonight with an opportunity to tie the Rams atop the conference.
This is what we signed up for: a four-way tie for first in which the worst RPI of the group is 68 (Charlotte). Here's four adjectives that immediately come to mind: funny, scary, proud, and enthused. I absolutely believe that despite the stress this fantastic conference is causing, it's exactly what we all wanted.
The Rams ripped through the first half of a conference season that did not disappoint. A few blowouts, a heartbreaker, a dramatic come-from-behind overtime win, and a dissapointing loss. Those are our first eight games.
It's only going to get better.
So to set you up for this basketball buffet, here's a quick rundown of records, (how they've performed home/road in conference based on where VCU plays them), tonight's opponent, and a sentence or two that matters for each A-10 opponent left on the VCU schedule:
Charlotte 5-2 (4-0 at home).
Plays at Temple tonight. Lost leading scorer DeMario Mayfield to
suspension but beat UMass 66-65 in first game without him.
4-3 (2-2 on road).
Hosts Rhody tonight. Point guard Chaz Williams (transfer from Hofstra)
likely most explosive guard in the A10. Could be a fun game as UMass
loves fast, too.
GW 4-3 (2-1 on road). Plays at Duquesne tonight. Young team led by Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood. Vulnerable on offense.
St. Louis 5-2 (3-1 at home).
At Fordham tonight. Nobody playing better than the Billikens
right now. Drilled Butler by 17 and Dayton by 29 last week.
at Xavier 5-3 (4-0 at home). OFF tonight. Fast start but lost three of last four. Very good
offensive rebounding team. Has Dayton, Duquesne, Rhody, and Fordham next. Could be 9-3 when we play.
5-2 (2-2 on road).
Hosts Bona tonight. Rotnei Clarke is back and bombing away for the
Bulldogs. Butler beat both Indiana and North Carolina in nonconference,
and lost, like VCU, to LaSalle.
Richmond 4-4 (0-4 on road). OFF tonight. No comment.
Temple 3-4 (2-1 at home).
Hosts Charlotte tonight. Early struggles for the Owls, but Temple is
the bellwether program in the A10. Khalif Wyatt is the conference's
leading scorer.
We're a long way from having the ability to calculate scenarios with any degree of accuracy. The goal is to earn one of the top four seeds in the A10 tournament--giving VCU the bye and an extra's day's rest and preparation. We will slowly walk up to that line in the coming weeks.
And while I've long preached that we're fans, so we get to look at the season with a wider lens than "one game at a time," I will say this: first things first.
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