Rider at George Washington -5.5 O/U 148.5
You don't often see head coaches with a few years under their belt dramatically change their scheme. Rider head coach Kevin Baggett had his team play at a moderate pace his first three seasons; 178th, 137th, and 179th nationally in pace. In 2016, due to a lack of talent, they were one of the slowest teams in the country. But last season, Baggett chose to change things up as the Broncos were 24th in pace at over 72 possessions per game. It yielded a five-win improvement. This year, despite losing four starters, Baggett said the offense will continue to push and also become more efficient. The body of work isn't much with two games against bottom feeders Hampton and Hartford in which Rider hung 89 and 90. They also managed to get to get to 75 against a solid Xavier defense. In each game, the pace topped 75 possessions. George Washington appears to be feeling the impact of losing four starters. The Colonials got past bottom feeder Howard, 84-75, and were then outclassed by Florida State, 87-67. And last time out, GW limped past Hampton, 65-57; the same Hampton squad Rider beat 90-75. Defensively, both teams currently grade out at below average. George Washington lost a lot from a team that ranked 12th in the A-10 in defensive efficiency. And when Rider isn't forcing turnovers it can be had in the half court (Xavier shot 21-of-26 from 2). Despite the venue, the total seems to be shaded more towards Rider's pace than GW's. But I think we'll see somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 possessions which coupled with an average offensive night give us a shot to cash an over.