ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Record: 24-6, 14-4
Dayton was ranked at one point this year and led the Atlantic 10 the entire way. And yet, the Flyers still aren’t favored to win this Tournament. They’ve dealt with some injuries and haven’t really gotten back their spark. A couple recent home losses to the Bonnies and Rhode Island highlight that fact. One of their best players, Kendall Pollard, may not even play in this Tournament, either.
And while Dayton won three of its last Four Games, all of those wins came by a combined five points. They scored just 52 points at Saint Louis, one of the worst teams in the conference. The Flyers probably have the best team, but they aren’t playing like it. If those struggles continue, their road to the title Game won’t be easy. Even in the quarterfinals they could have some trouble followed by George Washington or St. Joe’s in the semis.
Record: 22-9, 14-4
VCU is a trendy pick to win this Tournament, mainly because of Dayton’s aforementioned struggles. The Rams have been near the top of the standings from the start and almost knocked off the Flyers on the road in the regular season finale.
Because of how equal this Conference is, anyone can make a run to the championship Game. VCU could lose to Rhode Island in the quarters, but they could also make it to the championship without much resistance. St. Bonaventure or Davidson will be waiting in the semifinals for them.
Record: 22-7, 14-4
The Bonnies are the team to keep an eye on for this Tournament, as they’ve won 10 of their last 11 Games. That only loss was inexplicably against last-place LA Salle. That run includes a win at Dayton, a sweep of St. Joe’s and a win over George Washington.
Yet, the Bonnies aren’t getting much respect in the odds as they have the fifth-best chance to win this Tournament. They’ll likely draw Davidson first followed by VCU. St. Bonaventure only played those teams once this year, so it’s hard to get a good read on those matchups. But, there’s no denying how well this team is playing right now.
Record: 24-7, 13-5
The Hawks are struggling at the wrong time and a loss in the quarterfinals could result in them fretting their Tournament lives on Selection Sunday. St. Joe’s has lost two straight Games, with the latest being a home loss to lowly Duquesne.
The Hawks will likely draw George Washington in the quarters, who they beat about a month ago on the road by 18 points. They have the third-best odds to win this Tournament, but upset money would be better spent on the Bonnies.
Record: 22-9, 11-7
The Colonels were a bubble team until they started to struggle against better competition. since winning at VCU in early February, GW hasn’t beaten a team with a winning A10 Conference record. Beating up on the weak doesn’t mean much and won’t help in this Tournament.
To have a shot at the field of 68, the Colonels need to beat St. Joe’s in the quarters and then Dayton in the semis. Those aren’t out of the question with how both of those teams are playing, but it’s not like George Washington has been much better.
Rhode Island and Davidson are a couple teams that could make some noise in the bottom of the bracket, but they would probably be better suited against the top half. The bottom looks set to be a battle between VCU and the Bonnies.
There has been a different A10 Tournament winner for six-straight years and if Dayton or George Washington go all the way, they could make it seven straight. The Bonnies have the most value, considering not much separates the top five teams in this conference. With the second-best odds, the Flyers also present some value, as long as Kendall Pollard plays.