Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#617 Rhode Island -4 vs.
#618 George Mason 138.5
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#617 University of Rhode Island
#618 George Mason University
14-5
13-7
10-9
10-10
8-11
10-10
73
68
68
67

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The Rhode Island Rams will head to Fairfax, Virginia for an Atlantic 10 Conference clash against the George Mason Patriots at EagleBank Arena.

Rhode Island opened the conference season with a loss but has since won each of its last six Atlantic 10 games. The Rams are in second place in the conference standings with a 6-1 league record, putting them just one game behind the undefeated Dayton Flyers for the top spot. Meanwhile, George Mason is trying to get back on the right track after dropping six of its last eight contests. Can the Patriots bounce back with an upset win at home over the red-hot Rams on Tuesday night?

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Russell leads Rams to road win vs. Bonnies

The Rams continued their recent run of success on Saturday night with an 81-75 victory on the road against St. Bonaventure on Saturday night. Fatts Russell led the way with 29 points and five assists while Cyril Langevine added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Rams, who trailed by as many as nine points before putting together a second-half surge to escape with the win.

David Cox’s squad comes into Tuesday’s matchup ranked No. 56 in the latest KenPom rankings following their strong start to the conference season. Led by Russell (19.9 points, 4.7 assists per game), the Rams have scored 106.4 points per 100 possessions for the season (95th in the NCAA) but only 101.6 points per 100 possessions during conference play (5th in the A10). The Rams have turned the ball over just 15.5 percent of the time (1st in the A10) but sport an effective field goal percentage of just 46.2 percent (10th in the A10) through seven league contests. Instead, the Rams make up by generating second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass (3rd in the A10) and getting to the free-throw line at a high rate (4th in the A10).

The Rams also stay in games by making life tough on opposing offenses. They have given up only 93.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (38th in the NCAA), and they’ve been even stingier during conference play, limiting league opponents only 90.6 points per 100 possessions (2nd in the A10). Rhode Island has forced A10 teams to turn the ball over 20.7 percent of the time (4th in the A10) while holding them to an effective field goal percentage of just 44.0 percent (2nd in the A10).

Patriots fall short on the road against Davidson

George Mason was unable to keep its momentum going, falling on the road 68-53 against Davidson on Saturday evening. AJ Wilson scored 18 points and Javon Greene finished with 12 points for the Patriots, who shot just 7-for-24 from long-range in the loss. George Mason actually led midway through the second half but was outscored 23-8 over the final 10 minutes to lose for the third time in their last four games.

Dave Paulsen has guided the Patriots to a 13-7 overall record but they have won just two of their first seven conference games to enter Tuesday’s matchup slotted at No. 159 in the latest KenPom rankings. George Mason has scored 102.6 points per 100 possessions for the season but that number has plummeted to only 96.7 points per 100 possessions versus Atlantic 10 opponents (9th in the A10). The Patriots rank near the bottom of the conference in nearly every major offensive category. They have shot just 45.7 percent from inside the arc (9th in the A10) and 31.5 percent from beyond the 3-point line (11th in the A10) during league play while turning the ball over on 18.3 percent of their offensive possessions (8th in the A10).

On defense, the Patriots have given up 102.0 points per 100 possessions on the year (152nd in the NCAA) and 103.6 points per 100 possessions against league opponents (10th in the A10). George Mason has been getting torched from beyond the arc during conference play, as opposing teams have shot a blistering 38.6 percent from 3-point range against the Patriots’ defense (14th in the A10) during league play.

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George Mason has dropped six of its last eight contests and they’ve yet to beat a team ranked within the top-100 this year. In fact, they’ve dropped each of those contests by double-digits, which makes this game look like an appealing play. KenPom has the game finishing within five points but I think that is a fairly conservative projection. George Mason struggles to take care of the basketball and they’ve been hurt on the defensive glass during league play. The Rams should be able to create some havoc defensively and get after it on the offensive glass, which bodes well for their chances on the road here. Take Rhode Island to cover the number in this A10 showdown on Tuesday evening. 

Prediction: Rhode Island Rams

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Rhode Island plays at a fast pace on offense but the Rams also rank among the stingiest defensive teams in the country. Meanwhile, George Mason likes to slow down the tempo on offense and it ranks near the bottom of the conference in nearly every major offensive category, so it’s hard to see this one turning into a high-scoring game. Since these teams rank at the opposite end of the pace spectrum, we’re likely going to get an average-paced game here and the Patriots are going to have a hard time putting together an efficient offensive performance against the Rams in this spot. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.