Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 AM EST.
5:30 PM EST. George Mason has some nice wins this season over Saint Joseph's (85-60), St. Bonaventure (68-53) and it almost took down Kansas State (59-58) on the Wildcats home floor. This was supposed to be a year in which the Patriots and head coach Dave Paulsen, who is in his fourth season, were going to take the next step and compete for an Atlantic 10 title, but it hasn't quite gone that way, as GMU is just a .500 team (8-8). Paulsen returned all eight players that were a part of his regular rotation last season, but the injury bug has bit the Patriots with sophomore forward Goanar Mar undergoing surgery after injuring his foot in Wednesday's loss to Davidson, while Senior guard Jaire Grayer has been sidelined since the end of November. That loss to Davidson snapped a two-game winning streak for the Patriots, but Mason had one of its worst shooting nights of the season (30%) and hit just two of 20 three-pointers. That the Patriots lost by only five after such an awful display actually says a lot about them. A big bounce back is not out of the question here against a Rhode Island side that shot the lights out in its last game.
The Rams are well known in the market after former coach Dan Hurley took them to the second round in back to back NCAA Tournaments the last two seasons. However, Hurley is now gone, as are four starters from last year's team. That leaves these Rams in a bit of an awkward transition phase, as they were predicted to finish in the middle of the pack of the Atlantic 10 in the league's preseason poll. URI is 8-6 overall and 1-1 to start league play after a 78-67 win at Richmond last Wednesday night. That final score actually flattered the guests, as the Rams took a 22-point lead with 10 minutes to go and never looked back. As impressive as that latest win was, it came on an uncharacteristic hot night of shooting from Rhode Island, as it outshot its average field goal percentage by 16.3% (57.8% to 41.5%) and its three-point percentage by 17.2% (44.4% to 27.2%). If you could tell us which team was going to get hot and hit its threes, we'd be able to give you a winner more often than not. URI made its shots last time out and won, while the Patriots did not. Sure, the Rams could continue their heated run at the hoop, but a regression to the mean is far more likely and that opens the door for a cover an/or an outright win.
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#843 George Mason +6 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)