Weekend hoops preview: CAA, GW-St. Louis on CSN

Weekend hoops preview: CAA, GW-St. Louis on CSN
March 2, 2013, 1:15 am
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Previewing George Washington trying to keep its postseason hopes alive against No. 18 St. Louis, surging William & Mary hosting JMU, the CAA's top team and the nation's leading scorer - Virginia Tech's Erick Green - battling Clemson...

Old Dominion (4-25, 2-15 CAA) at Northeastern (19-10, 14-3), Saturday, 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet

Having clinched the regular season title and the top seed in next week's CAA tournament, the Huskies regular season finale also serves as a postseason tune-up. Joel Smith, in contention for conference Player of the Year honors, scored 29 points including the final seven in overtime as Northeastern dumped Georgia State 90-84 on Wednesday.

The brutal season finally ends for the Monarchs, losers of 13 of 15 games, though one of those defeats was an overtime loss against the Huskies. Senior center DeShawn Painters leads Old Dominion in scoring with 12.9 points.

No. 18 Saint Louis (22-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10) at George Washington (12-14, 6-7 CAA), Saturday, 4 p.m. on CSN-plus

The Colonials host their second Top 20 opponent this season not to mention one of the nation's hottest teams. On Feb 9, George Washington took No. 14 Butler to the final minute before losing. Since then and despite the scoring lift from freshman center Kevin Larsen, the Foggy Bottom crew has just mostly been losing, now four out of five games. The issue, beyond the not wanting to lose thing is there are postseason ramifications.

The Colonials enter Saturday's game in a four-way tie for ninth place with Charlotte, Saint Joseph's and St. Bonaventure, a game behind Richmond and Massachusetts and a game ahead of 13th-place Dayton. The top 12 teams in the final 16-team league standings qualify for the 2013 A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 14-17. George Washington has not reached the main draw of the A-10 Tournament since the 2006-07 season.

Larsen, the reigning A-10 Rookie of the Week, scored a career-high 16 points in Wednesday's 73-64 loss at Richmond on Wednesday. 

St. Louis, winners of 10 straight, leads VCU by one game in the A 10 standings. While the Colonials rely on four freshman, the Billikens are largely a veteran group with eight of their primary players at least 21 years old. Forward Dwayne Evans leads SLU in scoring and rebounding at 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while reserve forward Cody Ellis provides 10.7 points with a team-high 50 three-pointers off the bench.

James Madison (16-14, 10-7 CAA) at William & Mary (13-15, 7-10), Sunday, 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet

The regular season finale for both team pits the surging Tribe against the slipping Dukes. James Madison was in mix for second place in the CAA, but fell out of that level of contention after going 3-4 over its last seven games including a current two-game skid. Off since Feb. 23 when they fell 66-62 to Georgia State despite 22 points and 10 rebounds from A.J. Davis, the Dukes defeated the Tribe 81-71 on Feb. 6.

Meanwhile, William & Mary has gone the other way, winning four of five including a 73-72 road victory at UNC Wilmington on Wednesday as Tim Rusthoven sank the game-winning free throw with 0.4 seconds remaining. Sophomore guard and former Bishop McNamara star Marcus Thornton leads W&M with 18.6 points per game.

Clemson (13-14, 5-10 ACC) at Virginia Tech (12-16, 3-10), Saturday, 8 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet

Rather than analyze a game where one team has lost six of seven and the other 10 of 11, let's discuss the one reason this game is most definately worth checking out: Hokies guard Erick Green. The 6-foot-4 senior leads the nation 24.9 points per game while averaging over four rebounds and assists per game. For those NBA fans out there, here is a portion what Ed Isaacson from NBADraftBlog had to say about Green.

Enough can’t be said about the job Green has done stepping up as the leader of a young team in a program going through a transition.  He has been patient with his teammates and he has thrived being the target of opposing defenses.  It can be easy to overlook this on a team with a losing record, but it I can’t imagine how bad it would have been without him.  He isn’t a natural point guard, but he has shown he is capable of handling the position while scoring in a variety of ways. He is a good defender who could probably even be better if he didn’t exert so much energy on offense.