Can Dayton Delay Rhode Island’s Atlantic 10 Clinching?

Willie Bee

Friday, February 23, 2018 12:36 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 12:36 PM UTC

No. 18 Rhode Island’s quest for a perfect A-10 season was lost a week ago, but the Rams can still clinch the conference title as favorites on the NCAA basketball odds tonight vs. Dayton.

Dayton (13-14 SU, 9-17-1 ATS) at No. 18 Rhode Island (22-4 SU, 14-9-1 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: Over 144½Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Anthony Grant’s first season running the program at his alma mater hasn’t been a walk in the park by any means. Still, his Dayton Flyers have a chance to grab one of the coveted top 4 seeds in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament if they can close strong, and that means pulling off an upset Friday night at the No. 18 Rhode Island Rams.

It would be an upset of a rather tall order, considering the NCAA basketball odds have the conference-leading Rams favored by 13. Making a play on the scoreboard means a decision on a 144½-145½ point total for the 7 PM (ET) tip at Ryan Center which can be seen on ESPN2.

Winning On A-10 Highway Has Been Tough Task For Flyers

Rhode Island has a chance to do something it never has before, and that’s win two regular-season encounters with the Flyers. The Rams posted an 88-74 win a little more than a month ago in Dayton where Bookmaker closed Rhode Island -3½. Dayton shot better than 63% from the field, but was stung by its own sloppiness as the Flyers turned the ball over 21 times, which led to 24 points for the Rams. Dayton swept last year’s contests and holds an 18-15 lead in the rivalry; the last four contests in Ryan Center went ‘over’ the totals.

The top 4 teams in the A-10 will get byes in the first two rounds of the tournament, set to begin in Washington DC a little less than two weeks from now. The Flyers, following back-to-back wins over Fordham and Saint Louis, are just a game behind VCU and the Billikens for that fourth slot. Road life has not been kind to Dayton or its backers this year, the Flyers just 1-6 straight up and against the spread in A-10 roadies.

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Coach Hurley discusses last night’s win and Friday’s home game against Dayton. Friday’s game is on ESPN2. #GoRhody

— Rhody MBB (@RhodyMBB) February 21, 2018

Win Friday Clinches A-10 Title For Rhode Island

Those road struggles wouldn’t seem to bode well going up against a Rhode Island squad that is a perfect 14-0 at home on the season (8-3-1 ATS). Dan Hurley’s club was 13-0 in conference play until a week ago when a trip to St. Bonaventure put an end to that. The Rams seemed a little hungover four days later at La Salle, but managed to avoid a 2nd straight defeat by toughing out an overtime win over the Explorers that guaranteed them at least a share of the conference crown.

Rhode Island can’t depend on Dayton turning it over as often as in the first meeting, and the Rams definitely need to do a better job on defense than in that game. My free college basketball pick will follow both teams’ ‘over’ trends.

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