625 DAYTON at 626 GEORGE WASHINGTON
Take: 626 GEORGE WASHINGTON +4.5
Hats off to the the Flyers. Dayton clinched the outright A-10 title earlier this week by knocking off Virginia Commonwealth.
On paper, the Flyers should rack up another victory today as they visit George Washington. But games aren’t won and lost on paper, and I’m of the opinion Dayton might have trouble getting motivated for this matchup.
Take a look at what other teams have done in their next game following the outright league clincher. Kansas clinched the Big 12 in a win against Texas. Next outing, they had a terrible time vs. Oklahoma. KU was trailing by doubles well into the second half before going on a monster run late in the game to win by ten.
Akron’s next game after clinching the MAC was at home against the worst team in the league. The Zips were outright losers at home to lowly Miami Ohio.
Middle Tennessee played host to a Florida International team that arrived with a 6-23 record. The Blue Raiders found themselves on the wrong end of an incredible 20-1 score to start the game. They eventually gathered themselves enough to win the game, but just barely.
Gonzaga would have been the one team that might have figured to avoid a letdown, as their winning the WCC was a mere formality. Nevertheless, first game off the outright clinch was against BYU. So long, perfect season.
In fact, among the boarded leagues, the only school that hasn’t had some kind of an issue in the subsequent game was Monmouth. The Hawks blew out Fairfield in the next game. But it’s perhaps worth noting that Monmouth barely celebrated after clinching against Niagara and neither did the crowd. It just wasn’t a very big deal this time around. That was in stark contrast to last season when the Hawks blew out Rider to wrap things up and there was a huge celebration. Next game? A struggle as big chalk against what was a very weak Niagara entry.
So you get the picture. Dayton just wrapped up the A-10 with a national TV revenge win over VCU. The Flyers are a lock for the NCAA Tournament as an at-large regardless of what they do in this game. George Washington has been a very solid home team in league play. The Colonials have lost just twice on this court in conference play, and one of those was the utterly bizarre game against VCU, when they somehow lost a game they appeared to have won in one of the craziest finishes of the season.
If Dayton comes to play today, the Flyers still figure to get a decent challenge from a GW team that has won four straight. If Dayton suffers what seems to be a fairly typical letdown under these conditions, I won’t be at all surprised to see the Colonials get the upset win. There’s enough here to justify my taking the points with George Washington.