Sitting in sixth place in the Atlantic 10 with an 8-6 conference record, the men’s basketball team has already exceeded much of the expectations laid out for it at the beginning of the season. After several seasons near the bottom of the conference, GW has made itself relevant once again in the A-10.
The Colonials hold one record though that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. With Saturday’s loss to Temple, the Colonials are now 0-5 against the top four teams in the conference standings.
The first highly ranked opponent GW faced this season was third-place Richmond, which defeated the Colonials 68-58. From there, the slide against the top teams in the conference continued. Two games later, Xavier, the first place team in the A-10, handed GW a narrow defeat. It was followed by a loss to No. 4 Duquesne, a second loss to Richmond – this time at home – and finally, falling to Temple Saturday.
It’s a record that many teams might find disheartening, especially as the Colonials head into postseason play. GW head coach Karl Hobbs and his players disagrees though, and he’s quick to shake off any suggestion their record against the conference’s best teams is a point of concern.
“Nothing else is on my mind [except] getting us where we can shoot the ball, getting us to a point where we can put more points on the board,” Hobbs said.
Part of GW’s mindset may be rooted in the fact that some of the defeats at the hands of top conference foes were well executed by the team, resulting in close losses that belied the true nature of the game. Against Xavier, the top team in the conference standings, the Colonials maintained pace with the Musketeers for most of the game, falling in the final minutes. And when GW took on Richmond for the second time this season, it resulted in a close, four-point loss after a highly contested battle over both halves of play.
“It’s always tough to lose a game. Our conference is one of the top conferences in the country, any team is capable of winning a game at any time, that’s how good the parity is in the league,” junior forward Aaron Ware said. “I think Temple, like coach said, is a top-25 team, and they’re a solid team on defense. They made us play their speed, and we wanted to play a little bit faster, but they made the plays at the end to win the game.”
The last two opponents the Colonials will face this season are also the two teams directly ahead of GW in the conference standings. Wednesday, the Colonials will travel to Rhode Island, tied for fourth place in the A-10 with Duquesne. The Colonials will return from Rhode Island to take on Dayton Saturday at home for the team’s final game of the season. With two crucial games still in front of the Colonials, Hobbs said he and his team don’t have time to dwell on anything but Rhode Island.
“The only thing that’s on my mind is figuring out a way to beat Rhode Island,” Hobbs said firmly.