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#729 George Washington 139 vs.
#730 UMass -5.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 4:30pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#729 George Washington University
#730 University of Massachusetts Amherst
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A pair of teams from the Atlantic 10 in search of a conference victory lock up in the Bay State. The George Washington Colonials are on the road as they travel to face the UMass Minutemen Saturday afternoon. George Washington earned a 73-67 win over George Mason at home Wednesday night in their last game. UMass was defeated 74-61 at home by St. Bonaventure in their previous contest Wednesday night. The Colonials own a 43-29 edge in the all-time series and have won seven straight meetings, including a 68-64 overtime win in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in the most recent matchup on March 13, 2019.

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George Washington Colonials Seek to Extend Recent Dominance of UMass

George Washington has had a rough go of things in Jamion Christion’s first year running the show. The Colonials come into the game 7-10 overall and 1-3 in Atlantic 10 play this season. George Washington has been up and down this season as they started the year with four losses in their first five games. The Colonials bounced back with four wins in their next five to get to 5-5 on the year before coming back to earth. George Washington had won just one of their previous six before upending George Mason in their last game. The Colonials hope that they can beat UMass for the eighth straight time to climb closer to the .500 mark on the year.

The Colonials are 296th in the nation in scoring offense with 66.6 points per game this season. George Washington pulls down an average of 33.4 rebounds per game and hands out an average of 11.9 assists per contest. The Colonials are 166th in scoring defense this season by allowing 68.5 points per game. Armel Potter leads the team with 14.6 points plus 5.7 assists a night on the year. Jamison Battle (12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds) is the only other player averaging in double figures this season. Jameer Nelson Jr. Maceo Jack, Armando Toro, Amir Harris, Chase Paar and Mezie Offurum have to step up to help George Washington on both ends. The Colonials shoot 41.9 percent from the field as a team this season. George Washington knocks down an average of 7.8 triples a night while sinking 32.8 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Colonials are average at the charity stripe as they sink 72.7 percent of their attempts on the year.

George Washington is a very slow-paced team according to KenPom.com as they are 271st in tempo with 66.8 possessions per game this season. The Colonials hold the ball for 18.7 seconds per possession, which is 317th in the nation. George Washington’s strategy vastly differentiates from that of their opposition as the Colonials take 42.6 percent of their field goal attempts from outside the arc, which is 59th in the nation. Meanwhile, opposing teams take just 26.6 percent of their attempts against George Washington from three-point range, the fifth-lowest mark in the country.

UMass Minutemen Looking to Get On Track

UMass started the year hot but things went frigid in a hurry for Matt McCall’s team. The Minutemen find themselves 7-10 on the year overall and 1-3 in Atlantic 10 action this season. UMass started the year on fire, winning their first five games, including a win over Northeastern at home. Since then, the Minutemen have dropped 10 of their last 12 with the lone victories home wins over Maine and La Salle. UMass has lost to some good teams like Virginia, Dayton, Rutgers, Akron and Yale in that stretch. A 34-point loss at Harvard is one that really stands out as a beatdown on the ledger.

The Minutemen are 219th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 70.8 points per game on the year. UMass is collecting 32.8 boards a night while they stand 243rd in assists by dishing out 12.9 per contest. The Minutemen are below average defensively as they are 264th in scoring defense by allowing 72.7 points per game. T.J. Weeks is second on the team with 14.7 points per game this season. Tre Mitchell contributes a team-high 15.5 points plus 6.2 boards a night while Carl Pierre adds 14.1 points per contest. Sean East II (11.4 points, five assists), Samba Diallo and Keon Clergeot each average at least six points this season for the Minutemen. UMass shoots 42.7 percent from the field this season as a team. The Minutemen splash 8.7 triples per night while shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. UMass is weak at the charity stripe, converting only 68.9 percent of their chances this season. Weeks was lost in December after surgery to deal with a hernia and is likely finished for the season.

According to KenPom.com, the Minutemen play at a fast tempo as they are 98th in pace with 70.4 possessions per game. UMass takes 41.2 percent of their attempts from the floor from beyond the arc, which is 92nd in the nation. Their 36.3 percent success rate is 55th in the country and could prove critical seeing that 36.6 percent of their points (55th in the nation) come from outside the arc. UMass has to take better care of the ball as they are 318th in steal percentage as they allow the ball to be picked on 11 percent of their offensive possessions.

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The Minutemen have struggled to put together a complete game during this 12-game stretch and losing Weeks hasn’t helped matters. UMass shoots a lot from the outside and they’ve had success in that department but losing Weeks was a blow there as well. George Washington is similar to the Minutemen in the fact that they love to shoot from the outside as well. Christion has to get his guys to start taking smarter shots instead of firing up the first perimeter look they get. Seeing how things have gone this season and the tailspin the Minutemen are in, you have to give a slight edge to the Colonials as they make it eight straight over UMass.

Prediction: George Washington Colonials

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There isn't a ton of numbers that reach out and grab you on either side of the coin here. Both teams have dealt with injuries that have taken key players out of the mix. The Colonials are 267th in field goal percentage this season and 198th in three-point percentage. UMass is 308th in field goal percentage (46 percent) on the year. Both offenses love the perimeter shot but the defenses are up to the task. The Colonials are 33rd in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.2 percent) while UMass is 73rd in that department at 30.3 percent. Since both teams make their living on the outside, this one likely falls short of the total.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.