The George Washington Colonials (10-9, 4-2) will host the Saint Joseph's Hawks (9-10, 3-4) On Wednesday in an Atlantic-10 matchup. These two teams have not yet played this season, but they will face off again on February 11.
Three game surge for HawksSt. Joes started the season 6-6 after non-conference action, with a resume that included losses to No. 3 Houston, Georgia, and Villanova. Things did start sweet in the Atlantic 10, but after getting to a 0-4 start in conference action, the Hawks now find themselves on a three-game winning streak, with victories over Loyola Chicago (86-55), La Salle (71-59), and UMass (74-68). Making the winning streak even more impressive is that the Hawks have found themselves ranging from a three-point favorite to two point underdog over the stretch. They are now 10-9 against the spread this season.
Saint Joseph's is 201st in the nation according to KenPom. They are 196th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 211th on the offensive end. Leading the Hawks is the guard duo of Erik Reynolds II (17.6 ppg) and Cameron Brown (14.6 ppg, 5.9 rebs).
How will GW respond off a big win?George Washington Colonials went 6-7 in non-conference play this season and has a 24-point win over South Carolina as a feather in their cap. In the A-10, the Colonials are 4-2 after beating George Mason 78-75 on Monday and upsetting Dayton 76-69 on Saturday as an 8.5-point dog. With the win, GW improved to 10-8 against the spread.
The Colonials are 168th according to KenPom overall. They are 89th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 278th on the defensive end. Senior guard James Bishop IV leads the team with 21.9 ppg, which is also sixth in the nation. Another senior guard, Brendan Adams is second on the squad with 16.7 ppg.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
St. Joe's has been playing solid basketball as of late, but George Washington has been a little better. These teams are almost dead even when it comes to rebounding, but there is a significant difference in ball security. The Colonials are 124th in the nation in turnover percentage per possession compared to St. Joseph's at 240th. Over the past three games, GW has been doing an even better job of protecting the ball, committing a turnover in just over 12% of its possessions, compared to the Hawks who are turning the ball over in more than 20% of its offensive possessions. George Washington is also in a better position to take advantage of the extra possessions. GW is 39th in the country shooting 47.5% from the floor, and 44th making 75.2% from the free throw line. The Hawks are only 306th shooting 42.2% from the floor, and 254th hitting 68.7% from the free throw line. The Hawks hold a slight edge on the defensive end, but not enough for me to back them here. The favorite and home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six head-to-head meetings between these schools, and I will bet on that continuing.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Colonials have averaged 77.2 ppg of their last four games, and the Hawks are putting up 77.8 ppg over their last four. Given the style that both of these teams play with, don't expect to see a drop in those scoring numbers. We will see a lot of possessions with St. Joe's 70th in adjusted tempo and George Washington 103rd in adjusted tempo. Since I expect GW to win this game, I anticipate that the Hawks will try to turn this game into even more of a track meet late, sending the Colonials, an excellent free-throw shooting team, to the line. Take the over.