Category Archives: Men’s Basketball
The men’s side of the ball…
By: Daniel Stettin
With non-conference play wrapping up in college basketball, it is much clearer about who’s who throughout the A10 and the rest of college basketball. There have been surprises both good and bad. Whether it be injuries, a tough schedule, or just poor play, some teams just have not lived up to expectations this year. Unfortunately for the A10, most teams fall under this category.
Tier 1 (Likely NCAA Tournament Team):
1. Rhode Island Rams (6-3, #16 RPI, #5 SOS):
Rhode Island has had quite the non-conference schedule, with 5 of 9 opponents being in the top 50 in RPI and 4 of those games have come away from home. Throw in that the only home game was against In-State Providence which brought in a number of fans, this team has played a touch schedule so far. Sitting at 6-3, they just got back EC Matthews from injury, but in his absence Freshman Fatts Russell has taken advantage of the extra minutes by putting up 20 in back to back games vs Brown and Providence. Just like last year when they nearly beat Final Four Bound Oregon, this is an extremely deep team that is balanced on both ends.
Tier 2 (On the Bubble NCAA Tournament Team)
2. St. Bonaventure Bonnies (8-2, #47 RPI, #153 SOS):
If someone saw that the Bonnies were 8-2 right now, they would assume it’s been all about Preseason All A10 players Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. The two are scoring a bunch, but their shooting percentage’s are both under 40% from the field. With an impending matchup against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, they are gonna need their dynamic duo to heat up offensively. That Syracuse game is their biggest opportunity left this season for a big SOS/RPI boost which really help them come down March.
3. Dayton Flyers (5-6, #55 RPI, #2 SOS):
Don’t let Dayton’s 5-6 record fool you, this is team that has played the second toughest non-conference schedule in the country. Almost all of their toughest games have come on a Neutral or Road court under Anthony Grant. They have struggled defensively this season, getting outscored by .3 every game and also being in the bottom half of the country in rebounds per game. Darrell Davis has made a huge jump as a senior as have Josh Cunningham in his redshirt Junior season. There was a lot of hype going into the year for Kostas Antetokounmpo (Giannis’s little brother), but he has looked like a Freshman at time, with his defense being what is keeping him as a role player.
Tier 3 (Likely NIT)
4. VCU Rams (7-5, #95 RPI, #50 SOS):
VCU continues the trend of A10 teams that have played very tough schedule’s but without the wins. Half of their schedule has come against Power Conference Schools, but they’ve only walked away with a win against California. Their trip to the Maui Invitational gave this squad experience against bigger stronger teams that will help come down the stretch of A10 play. Justin Tillman still doesn’t play much defense, but he is a force offensively, with 18 PPG on 56% from the field and 47% from downtown. He was 0-3 from downtown in his first three seasons so props to him for adding that shot over the offseason. Jonathan Williams has struggled scoring the basketball but has been wonderful running the VCU offense.
5. Davidson Wildcats (4-4, #132 RPI, #150 SOS):
One of the best offensive teams in the country, Davidson almost always has five guys on the court who are capable who shooting it from downtown. Despite losing Jack Gibbs, the Wildcats offense has actually improved. Peyton Aldridge is a stretch four that is near impossible to guard. Ask UNC or Virginia, who he averaged 21 PPG against or UNC Wilmington, who he dropped 37 points on. This man is tough to guard. When this team is hot, it is near impossible to beat them, making them a team that nobody wants to face down the stretch.
Tier 4 (Possible Postseason, Team’s that will Scare you)
This Tier will comprise the most teams. These teams are one’s that will will have the opportunity to participate in the smaller postseason tournaments like the CBI or CIT if they want to, but overall are teams that can catch you off guard if you aren’t paying attention.
6. La Salle Explorers (6-6, #56 RPI, #11 SOS):
La Salle compares very favorably to St. Bonaventure due to the two-headed monster of BJ Johnson and Pookie Powell, but they don’t have the bench production that the Bonnies have. Johnson, the transfer from Syracuse, has been the next great transfer for the Explorers putting up 18 PPG last season and bumping that up to 22 this season. They gave Villanova quite the scare, leading at halftime before falling by 9. This team has just been so inconsistent, looking great against Villanova and Temple while looking bad in games against smaller opponents.
7. Massachusetts Minutemen (6-5, #118 RPi, #81 SOS):
UMass really has changed the publics perception of them in the past week with back to back wins at home over Providence and Georgia. First Year Head Coach Matt McCall has done a great job with this depleted roster who lost Maryland Grad Transfer Jaylen Brantley to a heart condition as well as four others to transfers. Luwane Pipkins has made a big jump in his Sophomore year and he dropped 30 points on Providence. This team is starting to gel at the right time going into conference play.
8. George Washington Colonials (5-6, #152 RPI, #44 SOS):
GW has played an insanely tough schedule in coach Maurice Joseph’s first full season as Head Coach. Outside of the loss at Penn State, GW has played tough in all of the matchup’s against power conference schools, including a win over Temple in the BB&T Classic. Senior Yuta Watanabe has continued to be one of the best defensive players in the country but he hasn’t made the jump offensively that many expected. Jair Bolden has done well as a shooter, but he has struggled running the point for GW. It’ll be interesting to see what adjustments MoJo is able to make with this team as the season goes on.
9. Saint Joseph’s Hawks (5-5, #201 RPI, #259 SOS):
Injuries to both Charlie Brown Jr. and Lamarr Kimble has really hurt this team as they were expected to help carry the load for the Hawks. Shavar Newkirk has taken a step back as a senior, with his scoring and percentages both dropping. Freshman Taylor Funk has been a pleasant surprise but overall its hard to tell with team until Brown Jr and Kimble are back.
10. Saint Louis Billikens (6-6, #146 RPI, #43 SOS):
Head Coach Travis Ford has done a great job of bringing in talent to Saint Louis, now we just have to see them on the court. An injury to Elliot Welmer and a sexual assault allegation against Adonys Henriquez, Jermaine Bishop, and Ty Graves have kept them off the court and all were expected to be major contributors this season. The Billikens have really struggled offensively with True Freshman Jordan Goodwin running the offense. We’ve seen what this team can do at their best when they beat Virginia Tech but they’ve also had poor games like the losses vs Detroit and Western Michigan.
Tier 5 (See Ya Next Season)
11. George Mason Patriots (5-7, #209 RPI, #131 SOS):
The loss of Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins has hurt Mason much more than anyone could have imagined. The Patriots are doing worse in almost every category as Otis Livingston has yet to make that big jump that so many have excepted him to do. This is an extremely undersized team that doesn’t really have any one strength that scares you.
12. Duquesne Dukes (8-3, #266 RPI, #344 SOS):
Duquesne Coach Keith Dambrot pulled a Patrick Ewing in his first year in Pittsburgh, scheduling a very easy non-conference schedule to get some easy wins and instill confidence into the program. The Dukes won just 10 games last season and will easily surpass that this season. The real question is how good/bad this team actually is. We really do not know because of their schedule. They have played all but one game at home, with the one non-home game being played PPG Paints Arena (home of the Pittsburgh Penguins), but that is 5 minutes away from the Palumbo Center. Conference play will answer these questions but this team is really a mystery.
13. Fordham Rams (4-6, #277 RPI, #240 SOS):
The Rams bring back Joseph Chartouny, one of the best defensive guards in the country. He’s been one of the nations leaders in Steals since his freshman year. He hasn’t shot well this year, but he does everything else so well. Will Taveras and Prokop Slanina both have made major improvements this season but the two haven’t been able to compensate enough for Fordham’s 342nd ranked offense. Fordham has showed in the past that they are capable of pulling off the occasional upset, like when they beat both VCU and Rhode Island last season, but don’t expect to many of those this year.
14. Richmond Spiders (2-9, #243 RPI, #48 SOS):
By far the biggest disappointment in the A10 this year. They lost at home to Delaware on opening night by 13 which shocked many, but then it got even worse when they lost at home again to Jacksonville State 94-61. The loss of TJ Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones has had arguably one of the most negative impacts in the country. This team went to the NIT quarterfinals last season and looked like they would be able to keep building on this young squad. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to, being one of the worst defensive teams in the country.
By: Daniel Stettin and Jacob Sichel
In just his second year, Coach Maurice Joseph is looking to continue his success at GW from the previous year. After abruptly being named head coach prior to season, Coach Joseph went 20–15 overall and 10–8 in A-10 play.
One caveat is that this year’s squad will look drastically different when they take the court Saturday against Howard. Star Forward Tyler Cavanaugh is currently playing in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks and highly touted recruit Colin Smith transferred to the University of Central Florida. As well, Kevin Marfo, Collin Goss and Jordan Roland all transferred while Matt Hart graduated and Jaren Sina signed a contract to play in Europe.
#1 Terry Nolan Jr.: Guard from Baltimore, Maryland
#0 Justin Mazzulla: Guard from Warwick, Rhode Island
#14 Maceo Jack: Guard from Buffalo, New York
#32 Javier Langarica: Forward from Bilbao, Spain
#35 Bo Ziegler: Grad Student Forward from Detroit, Michigan (USF)
#21 Luke Sasser: Walk On Sophomore Forward from Raleigh, North Carolina (UNC-Charlotte)
#2 Armel Potter: Sitting out this year, R-Junior Guard from Marietta, Georgia (Charleston Southern)
#13 DJ Williams: Sitting out this year, R-Junior Forward from Chicago, Illinois (Illinois)
#30 Jack Granger: Former Team Manager, Senior G from Middlefield, Connecticut
Projected Starting 5 + 6th Man:
PG: Jair Bolden, Sophomore, #3
SG: Terry Nolan Jr, Freshman, #1
SF: Yuta Watanabe, Senior, #12
PF: Patrick Steeves, GS, #10
C: Arnaldo Toro, Sophomore, #11
6th Man: Bo Ziegler, GS, #35
Senior forward Yuta Watanabe, who was voted to the preseason A-10 second team as well as preseason all-defensive team. Yuta averaged 12 points per game last year, but he’s going to need to increase those numbers this upcoming year.
If the exhibition game vs Fairmont State was indicative of how this season will go, Jair Bolden will have to be next up besides Watanabe. After starting slowly at the start of last season, he ended the year as the starting PG shooting over 40% from 3.
Graduate Student Patrick Steeves really came on near the end of last season as a small ball four playing inside. Steeves was expected to be a 3-point ace after shooting nearly 46% from downtown two years ago at Harvard but he shot just 20% as a Colonial last season. With a lack of size on this years team, he will be expected to play the same role as he did at the end of last season.
Arnaldo Toro ended last season really struggling to see the court due to foul trouble. After playing big minutes in the nonconference portion of the season, he averaged just 12.6 MPG in conference play. He will need to cut down on fouls as Toro is expected to be the primary big man this year.
Newcomer Terry Nolan Jr was a late commit for GW after being committed to Chattanooga until UMass hired their coach. Nolan Jr. started in the exhibition game for GW and is expected to play the most minutes out of the entire Freshman Class.
Bo Ziegler comes to Foggy Bottom with three years of playing experience at the University of South Florida actually playing two games against GW having minimal impact. Watch out for Ziegler’s veteran leadership with strong defensive play and occasional offensive outbreaks.
Coach Joseph put together a fairly difficult nonconference schedule in his first season as full time Head Coach. After opening with Howard, the Colonials will head to Tallahassee, Florida to take on the Florida State Seminoles. Other tough games will include a trip to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Invitational where GW will open against #17 Xavier and then play rather Arizona State or Kansas State. They also will face Temple at the Capital One Arena for the BB&T Classic. Other major non conference games include a trip to University Park to face Penn State and also welcome #13 Miami to the Smith Center in December.
The conference portion of the season bring the typical home and homes with VCU, George Mason, Duquesne, Davidson, and Richmond. Conference favorite Rhode Island will come to Foggy Bottom over winter break in early January as well.
This year in the A-10, the Colonials are picked to finish 11th out of the 14 teams, but to the surprise of many I believe a finish of 8th could be in store. The consensus number one was Rhode Island, who is led by the dynamic backcourt duo of E.C. Mathews and Jared Terrell.
By: Daniel Stettin
The George Washington Colonials (16-13, 8-8) look to get above .500 in conference play for the first time all season when they face the Fordham Rams (13-16, 7-9) Wednesday night in the Bronx. GW is coming off a 83-74 win over Revolutionary Rival George Mason Sunday afternoon in which Junior G Yuta Watanabe tied his season high with 18 points. Fordham, sitting just one game behind the Colonials in the A10 standings, is coming off a 70-48 loss at home to Richmond.
Fordham is led by Sophomore G Joseph Chartouny. He is third in the nation is Steals per game at 3.3 per game. While he has been deadly swiping the basketball, Chartouny is no Briante Weber, as he turns the ball over 3 times a game as well. The 6-3 Canadian can do a little bit of everything, averaging 11 PPG, 5 APG, and 4 RPG as well. Fordham has four players including Chartouny who average double-digit PPG so they run a fairly balanced offense.
One area where the Colonials should dominate is on the glass. Fordham averages just 29 boards a game and just two players average five a game. GW on the other hand has four players getting at least five a game. If there was a game for the freshman bigs to have a big game (they all have been quiet for the past few games), it would be this one against this undersized Rams squad. While Mason is also undersized, there style of play made it difficult for the Freshman bigs to match up.
Fordham’s Rose Hill Gymnasium is the oldest on-campus arena in D1 College Basketball and despite its small size, can get extremely loud and hostile to opposing teams (ask VCU fans, as they lost 69-67 in January). Despite this, I see a vastly improving GW team that is battling for the 5 seed with St. Bonaventure rally from being down at halftime to beat the Rams.
First Round – March 11
#12 Fordham 71, #13 George Mason 65
#11 Duquesne 61, #14 Saint Louis 55
Second Round – March 12
#9 La Salle 76, #8 Massachusetts 69
#5 VCU 63, #12 Fordham 57
#7 St. Bonaventure 60, #10 Saint Joseph’s 49
#6 George Washington 73, #11 Duquesne 55
Quarterfinals – March 13
#1 Davidson 67, #9 La Salle 66
#5 VCU 70, #4 Richmond 60
#2 Dayton 75, #7 St. Bonaventure 71
#3 Rhode Island 71, #6 George Washington 58
Semifinals – March 14
#5 VCU 93, #1 Davidson 73
#2 Dayton 56, #3 Rhode Island 52
Final – March 15
#5 VCU 71, #2 Dayton 65