ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Record: 23-6, 14-4
It’s been an interesting season for the A10, but not really for good reasons. After having a successful 2014 Tournament with six teams making it, they may only get three teams this year, and one of those is Davidson, a team that wasn’t even in the Conference last season.
The Wildcats are a great story, coming out of nowhere to win the conference, but the problem is that they didn’t beat anyone relevant in non-Conference play. Their best wins are against UNC Wilmington and Montana.
Even with Davidson on a nine-Game win streak coming in, expect this Tourney to be wide open. Because of the weak wins, they are looking at a 9- or 10- seed at the moment, and maybe an 8-seed if they can win this Tournament.
Record: 23-7, 13-5
The Flyers surprised in March Madness last year making it to the Elite 8 and they have a lot of players from that squad. However, that hasn’t fully carried over as they have a few bad losses down the stretch including to LA Salle and Duquesne. Because of a tougher non-Conference Schedule, Dayton could get a better seeding than Davidson in the NCAAs.
The route is favorable for Dayton as they only have to go through St. Joes or the Bonnies and then either George Washington or Rhode Island to reach the championship Game. This is a team with Tournament experience that should fight for the title.
Record: 21-8, 13-5
RIU is having a good season, but their lack of a Top 50 RPI win is the main thing holding them back from more. They had chances to beat both VCU and Davidson at home, but couldn’t get the win.
Like the rest of the conference, the Rams could easily make it to the title Game, or lose to George Washington in their first Game. They beat GW by Four points earlier in the year at home. However, if they do reach the title Game, Rhode Island could be looking at a NCAA berth.
Record: 19-12, 12-5
Much like Rhode Island, Richmond does not have the wins to be considered an NCAA team. The Spiders will be a tough out in this Tournament, though, having won six straight Games to close out the season. In their favor is an 89-63 win against Davidson back in January (Davidson won 81-67 in NC).
The Spiders swept VCU and could face them again in their first Game and then a possible rubber match with Davidson in the semifinals. If you like underdogs, this would be the team to bet on.
Record: 22-9, 12-6
Virginia Commonwealth looked like a lock to win the Conference halfway through the season, but after a couple injuries including to speedy guard Briante Weber, the team hasn’t looked the same. Down the stretch, they lost three-straight Games, albeit to better competition in the conference.
The Rams will make the Tournament because of their great first half, but there’s no telling what they will be seeded unless they make some noise in the A10 Tourney. The committee takes injuries into account and they are 5-5 since Weber went down. As the A10 5-seed, VCU will need to win Four Games to take the championship. At this point, that looks unlikely.
There are a lot of mid-range teams in this conference, meaning the likes of George Washington, St. Bonaventure or Massachusetts could easily knock off the top seeds. Davidson looks like the smart pick, but is probably one of the few favorites to stay away from in the Conference Tournaments.
There has been a different winner in the A10 Tourney for five straight years and that could easily happen again with Davidson or Dayton. The Flyers probably have an easier route as a 2-seed because Davidson will have their hands full if they meet Richmond in the semis.