The Collegian
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Spider basketball will be fun

Believe it or not, college basketball season starts this week and there is reason to be excited.

This year's Richmond basketball teams both have legitimate NCAA tournament expectations and it's not too early to start thinking about the possibility of March Madness. Past Richmond teams have made some serious noise in the NCAAs, and every game this season will help determine whether they have the chance to do it again.

The men's team has the deepest, most talented roster its had during the last four or five years. If these players perform the way people expect they will, Richmond's offense may be tough to stop.

Kevin Anderson may be the best guard in the Atlantic 10. He knows how to pass, he knows how to score and he can finish around the hoop. Richmond will feel confident with the ball in Anderson's hands. If he improved even a little bit from the end of last season, he could be a nightmare for opponents and a pleasure to watch.

The biggest addition to this year's Richmond squad is center Dan Geriot, who missed last season with a torn ACL. Geriot might have been able to play near the end of last season, but decided to sit out and fully recover. That may prove to have been a very smart decision. Geriot is bigger and stronger than he was two years ago and should be able to score in the paint and provide a huge rebounding boost.

And then there's senior guard David Gonzalvez. When he's on, he can be lights-out from 3-point range. With the way Anderson should be able to draw multiple defenders and the need to double cover Geriot on the inside, Gonzalvez's perimeter game could be a very important part of Richmond's success.

In the past, I've been critical of head coach Chris Mooney, but I think that with Geriot back, he has all the tools he needs to bring this team to the postseason, and I mean the real postseason, not the College Basketball Invitational.

Mooney has had these players on his team for three or four years now and he should be able to put them in a position to win games. Not to mention, the contract extension Mooney received last spring shows that Richmond thinks he can make this a winning program and is willing to give him the time to do so. That should be a comforting feeling and this could very well be the year for success.

The Spiders will play three teams from the Southeastern Conference, Wake Forest University from the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Dayton University and Xavier University from the A-10. They will have their chance to prove themselves against good competition and make a good case for the tourney, even if they don't earn an automatic bid.

The biggest thing for the Spiders to do this season is take care of business against lesser opponents. During the past two seasons, the team has lost to the likes of Norfolk State and Virginia Military Institute. The Spiders can't lose games like these if they hope to be true contenders for an NCAA bid. But, with upperclassmen at all the starting positions, they should be able to learn from their mistakes in past years and not take anyone too lightly.

On the women's side, the team returns all five starters from a team that was one half away from winning the A-10 title and going to the big dance. Junior guard Brittani Shells can flat-out play and should be able to guide the lady Spiders to another successful season, if the team can stay healthy.

The women were picked to finish third in the A-10 in the pre-season but have also received votes in the AP Top 25 pre-season poll. By reaching the A-10 finals last year, the team put themselves on the NCAA tournament radar, and if they can match their success from last season, they may get an invitation to the party.

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Both teams play at home tomorrow night, and I'm excited to see what they will do when it actually comes to hitting the hardwood. The football team has started to revitalize interest in Richmond athletics. If the basketball teams perform to their potential, the fever could continue to spread even faster than the swine.

Contact staff writer Reilly Moore at reilly.moore@richmond.edu

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