Atlantic 10 conference play is still just getting underway, and tonight George Washington will head to Richmond to take on the Spiders in both teams' second conference game of the season. We’ll preview the game before reviewing which team I’ll be backing.
The Richmond Spiders opened conference play in their most recent game against George Mason, a game in which they lost 62-58, bringing their record to 7-7. The Spiders have relied primarily on defense this season, as they have a 96.3 defensive efficiency rating on KenPom, and have managed to hold their opponents to an average of 64.6 points per game.
Opponents are shooting 41% from the field against the Spiders, and they have been limited on second-chance points since Richmond has a defensive rebounding percentage of 76.8%. Leading scorer Tyler Burton also leads the team in rebounding with 7.8 a game.
The match-up between Burton and George Washington’s leading scorer James Bishop IV will be an entertaining element to this game. Bishop IV is averaging 21.9 points per game and enters tonight fresh off a 40-point performance in the Colonials' first conference win.
Bishop IV has helped the Colonials put up an offensive efficiency rating of 105.3 on KenPom, which ranks 100th in the country. The offense has not been the problem for the 7-7 Colonials this season; the inconsistent defensive play has led to them allowing an average of 73.3 points per game.
The Colonials' defense has really fallen apart in the second half of games this season, as they are allowing an average of 40.2 points per game in the second half, which ranks 316th in the country. Their offense has scored 43 points per game in the second half, but their second-half pace is unsustainable if they want to compete in the A10.
The George Washington Colonials are currently listed as +8.5 point underdogs, and I’ll be taking them as my best play for the game. The Colonials are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 road games, and I think there is some value in this number for them.
George Washington is one of the better shooting teams in the country so far this season, as they are shooting 48.3% from the field, which is the 22nd-best percentage in the country. Their pure offensive ability should be able to keep them in this game against a Richmond team that is ranked 131st in the country in shooting percentage and has struggled to force turnovers on defense.
The Spiders have just one player averaging in double figures this season and don’t possess the type of offense that has given his Colonials team trouble. Between both Brendan Adams and James Bishop IV, George Washington should be able to make this a competitive and close game.
George Washington (+8.5)