The Dayton Flyers and George Washington Colonials get marquee treatment on Friday's short college basketball odds board as the A-10 foes tangle in a crucial tilt in DC.
Everything was moving along superbly for Shaka Smart and Virginia Commonwealth a little more than a week ago. The Rams were cruising with a 12-game win streak, sitting at the top of the Atlantic-10 standings and pushing their way into the top 10 on the RPI.
Then came a season-ending knee injury to senior point guard Briante Weber in a loss to Richmond, and VCU suddenly looks vulnerable, potentially opening the door for either the Dayton Flyers or George Washington Colonials to take home top honors in the A-10.
Dayton and George Washington each have games against Virginia Commonwealth coming up later this month, but before either can worry about the Rams, they'll need to focus on each other Friday night in the nation's capital. ESPN2's cameras are scheduled to roll at 7 PM (ET), the home side favored by 2½-3 points. SBR's live college basketball odds will have a total just as soon as sports books get around to offering one up.
It's the only scheduled matchup between the Flyers and Colonials this year, the 10th consecutive time they've been scheduled against each other just once on the regular season slate. George Washington owns a slight 16-15 series edge, but Dayton has been cutting into that margin by taking three of the last four.
The Colonials' lone win in that span came on the Smith Center floor at the tail-end of the 2013 season, a thrilling 81-80 overtime decision that was a mild upset as 2 point underdogs. That win enough in regulation to slip past a 135 point total, stopping a 4-game run for 'under' bettors in the series.
Flyers Look To Stop 2-Game Road Skid
Dayton (17-4 straight up, 10-9 against the spread) has been playing well on both ends of the floor through nine conference games, building a 7-2 A-10 mark despite having one of the smaller teams in the country. The Flyers are third in the league defensively in points allowed (61.0 ppg) and holding opponents to 41.6% from the field, the offense sitting on top of the conference in shooting (51.8%) while placing second in scoring (71.7 ppg).
Still, Archie Miller's bunch has struggled the last two times out on the road, dropping a 77-60 decision at Davidson two weeks ago as 2 point underdogs along with a 66-64 setback as small chalk at Massachusetts. The loss to Davidson can be credited to the Wildcats who were on a roll from beyond the arc (12-of-23), but only Dayton is to blame for dropping the game at UMass.
Miller was forced to resort to a smaller lineup and rotation -- no active player taller than 6-6 -- back in mid-December when forwards Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson were both suspended. Scott was fourth on the team in scoring at the time (9.1 ppg), and first in rebounding (7.4 rpg).
Colonials Return Home After Two Losses On Road
After spending last week on the road, George Washington (16-6 SU, 8-11 ATS) has hopefully used the time off this week to put two rather ugly efforts in the rearview mirror. The Colonials were smoked at VCU on January 27, the 7½ points college basketball oddsmakers were giving them not nearly enough in the 72-48 loss.
George Washington managed to net just 1-of-17 tries from 3-point land in the setback to the Rams, and did improve that a bit by connecting on 4-of-11 in the next matchup at Rhode Island. It still didn't help Mike Lonergan's lads at the end in a 59-55 final that was another spread defeat as 2½ point underdogs.
I like Dayton as the underdog, but am frightened away by the Flyers' recent road performances. The best guess for a total is in the low-130s, with my free NCAA Basketball pick on the 'under' once that proves to be a good guess.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Dayton-George Washington Under 131 (*Sportsbooks like BookMaker are offering Total of 125.5)
Season: 40-36-1 (+0.4)