Vegas Odds: Richmond by 1.5 -- Bet at bodog
Why St Mary's will win:
The Gaels have a top 25 offense and are 4th in the country in terms of 3-point output. This is key because Richmond is usually extremely good at preventing the long-ball, so only top shooting teams can overcome that. Richmond is a perimeter oriented team, and although bigs Justin Harper & Dan Geriot have size, they're not in Omar Samhan's league.
Gael to Watch:
Mickey McConnell, G - 14 ppg, 2 rpg, 5 apg
As mentioned, the 3-point shot will be crucial in this game, and luckily SMC has quite the weapon in McConnell who shot a ridiculous 52% from downtown this year. He lit up Gonzaga for 26 points in the WCC final.
Why Richmond will win:
Richmond's resume is extremely impressive, wins over Florida, Mississippi St, Missouri, Old Dominion, not to mention Temple and Xavier in conference play. Unlike most tourney teams, Richmond tends to win with stellar defense as opposed to stellar offense. However, they've picked up ther O in recent weeks as David Gonzalvez (15 ppg) has been more consistent.
Spider to Watch:
Justin Harper, F - 11 ppg, 6 rpg, 1 apg
Harper has the unenviable taslk of going up against Samhan, who has 19 double-doubles. The A-10, though a superior league to the WCC, doesn't have many dominant bigs.
How it will go down:
This is one of the more intriguing opening round games and probably the one I'm least decided on. Sometimes games are simply too close to bother betting on.. and that's what I feel about this one. (In a pool with bonus points for upsets, I'd certainly pick SMC though).
Betting Pick: Richmond
Real Pick: Richmond