- The VCU Rams hit the road for a matchup with the George Washington Colonials Wednesday
- Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland’s 24-point effort against Rhode Island wasn’t enough to keep VCU undefeated in A-10 play
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The VCU Rams (9-3, 2-1 Atlantic 10) take their show on the road to the nation’s capital when they face the George Washington Colonials (3-7, 2-1 Atlantic 10) Wednesday, Jan. 13 in Washington. Tip is set for 2pm ET inside the Charles E. Smith Center.
George Washington may be a little out-of-sorts entering this A-10 home tilt. Since splitting a two-game home series with Duquesne New Year’s weekend, the Colonials have seen games against UMass and St. Bonaventure postponed due to a district-wide curfew in the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol siege and a positive COVID-19 test by a program staffer.
It’s no surprise the Rams are favored against the rested — but possibly rusty — Colonials.
VCU vs George Washington Odds
|VCU||-10.5 (-102)||-620||Ov 143.5 (-110)|
|George Washington||+10.5 (-120)||+460||Un 143.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 12 at FanDuel
VCU was picked to finish ninth in the A-10 preseason poll. But the Rams are currently the third-highest rated team (at No. 60) in the conference according to KenPom, behind only St. Louis (No. 30) and preseason favorite Richmond (No. 51).
Last time out, head coach Mike Rhoades’ team was tied with Rhode Island at 54 apiece in the second half Saturday until URI went on a 17-4 run that proved to be the difference.
Bones Hyland had a game-high 24 points (including 19 in the second half), but it wasn’t enough for VCU to win its eighth in a row.
Prior to the 15-point loss to Rhode Island, Rhoades’ group had ripped off seven in row, its longest streak since it closed out the 2018-19 regular season with 12 in a row.
This is a program not only used to winning — but winning on the big stage. Starting with the memorable 2011 Final Four run, the Rams have reached the NCAA Tournament eight of the last nine times and fell under the 25-win plateau only twice (VCU finished with 18 victories in 2018 and 2020, when there was no tourney) over that time period.
VCU gave then-No. 15 West Virginia a competitive game in a 78-66 defeat on Thanksgiving Day and narrowly lost 72-69 at Penn State less than a week later on Dec. 2. Prior to Saturday’s loss, those were the only two blemishes on the Rams’ ledger. I don’t see the Colonials handing them loss No. 4 Wednesday.
If GW is going to stand a chance in this one, it will be because the team’s top-scoring tandem of James Bishop and Jamison Battle come to play. Bishop, a sophomore guard from Baltimore, hit what proved to be the game-winning three against Duquesne in the Colonials’ 75-73 win Jan. 3.
He’s averaging a team-high 19.7 points per game and dishing out a team-high 6.1 assists per game.
Not to be outdone, fellow sophomore Battle is coming off a career-high 29 points against the Dukes. The 6-foot-7 forward is putting up 18.4 points a night. Throw in 6-foot-9 senior Matthew Moyer, who is averaging a double-double this season with 10.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, and this group has legit talent. Whether or not they can slow down a guy nicknamed Bones remains to be seen.
Bones, Shrug … Harmony
It’s easy to run out of superlatives when describing Hyland’s game. He leads the Rams in scoring, going for 18.2 points a night, and has led them in points nine time this season. The Wilmington, Delaware native has put up at least 20 points five times this season and gone for 30 or more twice. Needless to say, he’s explosive.
Hyland was a third-team preseason all-conference player and, like the rest of his teammates, has exceeded those early accolades. With Hyland in a groove, it’s hard to see this one going the underdog’s way.
KenPom predicts Wednesday’s contest will be a 10-point VCU win (77-67 to be specific, according to the website). Based on Hyland’s hot hand and the Colonials possibly coming in sluggish due to recent inactivity, I love VCU in this spot.
The pick: VCU -10.5 (-102)
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