PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Showdowns in the Atlantic 10, MAAC

Associated Press
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: George Washington at Dayton, 7:00 p.m.

With both St. Bonaventure and VCU atop the Atlantic 10 standings with 4-0 league records, this is a big matchup for contenders George Washington and Dayton as both enter this game 3-1. The Flyers rebounded from a disappointing effort in their loss at La Salle with a win over Davidson earlier this week, with Scoochie Smith leading a balanced offensive attack with 18 points and four assists.

The key for Dayton is turnovers, more specifically the unforced errors that occur a little too often for Archie Miller’s liking. George Washington has one of the top defenders in the country in senior Patricio Garino, and their 1-3-1 zone can be a tough task for opponents to attack. It should be noted that GW guard Joe McDonald will miss his second straight game due to an eye injury.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Monmouth at Iona, 9:00 p.m.

The preseason favorite to win the MAAC hosts the team that boasts the conference’s best overall résumé in New Rochelle. Iona’s dealt with injuries (Shadrac Casimir’s done for the season, A.J. English just returned) and the departure of Kelvin Amayo, but others have stepped forward and as a result Tim Cluess’ team sits atop the MAAC standings. One game behind them in the loss column are the Hawks, who have won eight of their last nine games. The two frontrunners for MAAC Player of the Year will be on the same court with English and Monmouth’s Justin Robinson being those players. Both teams can put points on the board, but which one can string together the stops needed to get the win?

OTHER GAMES OF NOTE

  • Akron visits Toledo (7:00 p.m.) in a MAC crossover game, with the Zips among three teams tied atop the MAC East at 2-1 and the Rockets 1-2 in the MAC West. Tod Kowalczyk’s team needs to hold serve, as they’re already two games behind a Northern Illinois (3-0 MAC West) team they lost to Tuesday night.
  • Illinois State hosts Evansville (9:00 p.m.) in a matchup of teams hoping to make a run at Wichita State in the Missouri Valley. The talented tandem of D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius lead the way for the Purple Aces, but the Redbirds have an all-MVC candidate of their own in Devaughn Akoon-Purcell.

FRIDAY’S REMAINING SCHEDULE

  • Albany at Maine, 12:00 p.m.
  • Siena at Quinnipiac, 7:00 p.m.
  • Niagara at Fairfield, 7:00 p.m.
  • Canisius at Manhattan, 7:00 p.m.