Davidson to Upset Rhode Island in Atlantic 10 Championship

Sunday, March 11, 2018 1:42 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018 1:42 PM UTC

Playing in their first A-10 championship as underdogs, Davidson takes aim at top-seeded Rhode Island. What is your best play with your NCAAB picks?

Sunday College Basketball: A-10 ChampionshipDavidson Wildcats vs. Rhode Island RamsFree NCAAB Pick: Davidson +2Best Line Offered: Intertops

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Count me among those who would like to see the teams coached by the Hurley brothers square off at the Big Dance. Such a matchup is iffy at best, especially because Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State Sun Devils are all but hanging by a thread just to reach the NCAA Tournament after such a promising start to the 2017-18 season. Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island Rams (25-6 SU, 16-12 ATS) should be a lock, however, as they head into the Atlantic 10 championship game against the Davidson Wildcats (20-11 SU, 17-12 ATS).

The younger Hurley would obviously prefer to get there with the automatic bid that comes with a conference title instead of waiting for an at-large invite. Bob McKillop knows the only way his Davidson team gets to the NCAAs is with the automatic bid, setting the stage for what should be a physical battle today in the nation’s capital. Tip-off comes a little past 1 p.m. ET.

Rams Rally Past Hawks In Saturday’s Semifinals

Rhode Island appeared to be bowing out Saturday in the semis against Saint Joseph’s before rallying for a 90-87 victory. The Rams trailed most of the game before finally taking the lead with a little more than six minutes remaining, and relied on freshman Fatts Russell’s 14 points off the bench to avoid the upset loss as 8½-point favorites. The Hawks shot better than 56 percent and hit half of their 3-pointers to push Rhode Island the entire game, but the Rams won the battle on the glass, pulling down 19 offensive boards, and turned it over only five times.

Favored by 3 on the college basketball odds board against St. Bonaventure, Davidson posted an 82-60 win behind the long-range shooting of Peyton Aldridge and Kellan Grady. Aldridge scored a game-high 24 and knocked down six of seven treys, while Grady pumped in 23 and hit four of his seven shots from behind the arc. The Wildcats survived a 5-minute scoring drought in the first half to avenge a triple-overtime loss to the Bonnies on the road during the final week of the regular season.

Rivalry Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

The Rams and Wildcats split their regular-season meetings with home wins and covers, Rhode Island taking the first matchup 72-59 and Davidson returning the favor with a 63-61 decision in the regular-season finale nine days ago. Today’s clash is just the 11th between the two squads, who also met in last year’s A-10 semifinals, and the Rams have a 6-4 advantage in the previous contests. Both results this year fell short of the totals.

The pressure is on Davidson if the Wildcats want to be a part of March Madness, and I’m getting behind McKillop’s troops with my NCAAB picks.

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