Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7925 Massachusetts (UMASS) vs.
#7926 Richmond
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 6:00pm EST
Written by David Delano

The Richmond Spiders will host the UMass Minutemen on Tuesday in an Atlantic-1o match-up. These two teams have not yet played each other this season. Last season Richmond beat 95-71 UMass on February 29, 2020.

Richmond is 12-5 on the season and 59th in the nation, according to KenPom. UMass is 7-4 and currently 110th, according to KenPom.

UMass coming off short-handed upset victory and a long layoff

Canceled and postponed games have significantly impacted the UMass Minutemen due to COVID-19. UMass has only played three games since January 18 and has not played since Saturday, February 6, when they upset Rhode Island 75-63 as a 10-point dog. UMass pulled off that victory without two of their best players, Tre Mitchell and Noah Fernandes. Mitchell is a 6'9 sophomore who averages 20 points and 7.4 rebounds on the season, and Fernandes is third on the team with 11.9 ppg and first with 5.2 assists. The status of both players for Tuesday's game against Richmond is questionable.

In conference play, UMass is 6-2, one game out of first place behind St. Bonaventure and VCU, who both are 9-3 in the Atlantic-10. The Minutemen have won five of their last six games. The conference victories included beating both La Salle, Fordham, and Rhode Island twice. The Minutemen has dropped games to George Mason and Davidson.

UMass is averaging 77.9 points on the season and allowing 71.5 points on the defensive end. The Minutemen rank 116th according to KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency and 114th in adjusted defensive efficiency. After Mitchell, who did not play in the most recent win against Rhode Island, Carl Pierre, a 6’4 senior, is second on the team averaging 13.5 ppg. Pierre has started 96 of his 107 career games with the Minutemen and led the team with 19 points in their last victory. Javohn Garcia, a 6'2 freshman who has played in all 11 games this season, is fourth on the team averaging 10.2 ppg. Garcia's streak of playing in every game is in jeopardy. He is another key UMass player listed as questionable for Tuesday's game as he battles with an eye injury.

Injuries and COVID-19 have slowed down high expectations of the Spiders

The Richmond Spiders went 24-7 last season with a 14-4 mark in the conference. According to BPI, Richmond also finished ranked 41st in the nation, making the expectations for 2020-21 extremely high. According to the media & coaches poll, the Spiders came into the season as the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 this year. This season Richmond has only been able to play eight conference games so far and have a 5-3 record, which put them in fifth place.

After defeating Saint Joes 79-56 on January 26, the Spiders did not play another conference game until last Wednesday when they lost to VCU 68-56 as a 2.5 point dog and then defeated Duquence 79-72 nine-point favorite on Saturday.

Richmond returned all their key pieces from last year's team until 6'4 senior guard Nick Sherod, who averaged 12.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last year, suffered an ACL injury that will cause him to miss the season. The Spiders have five scorers averaging over 11.5 ppg this season led by, six-foot guard Blake Francis who averages 16.4 ppg, Grant Golden, a 6'10 forward who added 13.2 ppg and 6.5 rebounds, and Tyler Burton, a 6'7, has added 12.8 ppg and a team-best 7.6 rebounds per contest. Despite the optimism coming into this season, the Richmond Spiders would not be in the NCAA Tournament according to Joe Lunardi's ESPN bracketology if the season ended today.

Richmond is averaging 76.1 points on the season and allowing 69 points on the defensive end. The Spiders rank 26th according to KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency and 103rd in adjusted defensive efficiency.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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UMass showed up for an impressive upset road win against Rhode Island the last time they took the court more than two weeks ago, despite not having two of their top three scorers. After a long layoff, the Minutemen could be down three of their top four scorers on Tuesday. Richmond is currently fifth in the Atlantic-10, but only two games out of first place. The Spiders had the potential to be a Sweet-16 team on paper before the season started and still arguably have the best blend of talent and experience in the conference. The Spiders still have a shot at getting into the NCAA Tournament this season, but they can't afford more losses. I expect Richmond to take advantage of an injured UMass teamed here and cover at home.

Prediction: Richmond Spiders -8

Full-Game Total Pick

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Richmond is averaging 76.1 ppg and allowing 69 ppg, for a combined total of 145.1 points per contest. UMass plays at the 21st fastest tempo in the country, but have still seen their last four games combine for 138 points or less, and all fall under the total. The Minutemen are also only averaging just 67.5 ppg in their last two contest without Tre Mitchell and Noah Fernandes in the line-up. With the Minutemen possibly still without those two starting players and Richmond, playing at a slower pace, ranking 160th in adjusted tempo, I expect this game to fall under the total.

Prediction: Under 149.5
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Written By David Marotta , "David Delano"

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  We are glad to have David on our team, so be sure and follow along.