George Mason will get its last chance to prove it’s not the worst team the the Atlantic-10 today when it faces Duquesne for the first time in Pittsburgh. The Patriots are 0-8 and remain alone in the cellar of the conference but have yet to play the Dukes either home or away. George Mason is slated as a three-point underdog in today’s matchup between the bottom two teams in the conference.
I wrote about George Mason last week when I took them to cover the rather large 15-point spread against the first place Saint Louis Billikens. I hold a slightly similar stance in this matchup: George Mason is simply not the worst team in this conference. This is tough to justify when the team has yet to actually win a game yet but the Patriots have been competitive and have actually been covering spreads. Today is the day they should break through.
Duquesne sits at 2-6 and is considered the bottom of the Atlantic-10. At least it was considered the bottom of the barrel in the pre-season projections. Duquesne’s two wins have both come at home – one against Fordham by six points in the teams’ A-10 Conference opener. The other came against St. Bonaventure – a more respectable opponent. That said, the Bonnies are just 3-5 and the win came by just two points. The Dukes rely on one volume scorer by the name of Ovie Soko, a British forward that averages over 18 per game this season. The 6’8″ senior does the majority of the heavy lifting for a Duquesne team that plays nine players double-digit minutes per game.
In conference, George Mason has lost games on the road by the following margins: 6, 14, 2 (OT), 6, 6 (OT). All of these games came against tougher opponents than Duquesne aside from potentially the Fordham game, where Mason lost by six. The Patriots haven’t won as many games as Duquesne but they have remained competitive in far more against a far larger range of opponents. Although the number in the win column doesn’t reflect as much, the overall competitiveness of the two teams suggests that the Patriots are the better team. And a psychological evaluation of the teams at this current place in time would likely indicate that it will be George Mason that comes out in this game with more intensity – still in search for its first win and to prove that it isn’t the cellar dweller of the A-10.
Free Pick: George Mason +3