ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Record: 24-6, 15-3
This Tournament is more or less a toss-up every season. St. Joseph’s won it two of the last three seasons, but there has been six different winners in the last seven seasons. Surprisingly, Dayton hasn’t won the A10 Tournament since 2003. This season could be the Flyers’ best shot after being at the top of the standings almost all season. Their three losses all came on the road and surprisingly two of them were against George Washington and UMass. Their route to the championship looks favorable from the outside, but a third meeting with Rhode Island may give them problems. While Dayton swept the Rhodies, those two wins came by a combined Four points. Dayton has the best team, but may not have the best betting value.
Record: 24-7, 14-4
The Rams had an impressive season and after a rough patch of back-to-back losses to Davidson and Fordham, climbed to the top of the standings before losing back-to-back Games again at Rhode Island and Dayton most recently. VCU should be fine in its first Game and looks set to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but nothing is certain, considering the Rams lost to fellow bubble teams Illinois and Georgia Tech earlier this season. A win over Richmond, a team they swept, in the semis would be enough for that berth, but VCU may provide the best test for Dayton in the title Game, as the two split in the regular season.
Record: 19-11, 13-5
The Spiders quietly found their way into the 3-seed, but didn’t need to beat either of the top teams in the process of getting there and they hold this spot because they beat Rhode Island at home. Richmond had a good season, but it’s hard to see them winning this Tournament, which is what it will need to do to make the NCAAs.
Record: 21-9, 13-5
Rhode Island is in the most precarious position of any A10 team as it sits firmly on the bubble, due to home losses to LA Salle and Fordham. However, the Rams have won their last five Games and look primed to make a run. They should be fine against the Bonnies in the quarters, but trying to get over that Dayton hump will be tough. As said above, the Flyers beat them twice by a combined Four points. The path is there for RIU to make the title Game, but it won’t be easy. If it can get past Dayton, anything can happen in that final Game as the Rhodies beat VCU in their only meeting.
It’s hard to see any team other than the top three winning this Tournament. St. Bonaventure, George Washington and George Mason can all get an upset, but going on a run and winning Four straight in Four days seems like a stretch for them. VCU has the easiest road to the title Game, while Rhode Island probably provides the best value as the 4-seed. Dayton is the favorite, but may not be worth the money considering how close its Games with RIU have been this season.