Brooklyn, New York
Record: 25-6, 16-2
VCU has had the A10 under control for the last month, winning its last 12 Games. The Rams have dominated with the fifth-most efficient defense in the country, holding multiple teams in the Conference to 50 points or less. Still, nothing will be easy for them in this Tournament, especially since their offense is far from a guarantee. It also doesn’t help that their first opponent could be Rhode Island, which gave VCU its last loss. Still, the Rams will be favored over either RIU or LA Salle by a good margin in that first Game and the same for the semifinals against St. Bonaventure. In fact, the Rhodies may put up a bigger fight than either team in the semifinals. This VCU defense will be hard to beat since there aren’t a ton of consistent offenses in the A10. That said, the other two favorites, Dayton and Davidson, have the most efficient offenses in the Conference and would put up the best fights in the Championship.
Record: 23-8, 14-4
The Wildcats beat VCU in their only meeting this year, but they had to come back from 12 down with 10 minutes left. They maybe weren’t the most consistent team in the conference, but they could be the most talented with standouts Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady. Per usual, their offense is one of the best in the conference, while the defense has steadily improved. They probably get an easier draw than VCU with Saint Joseph’s the likely opponent in the quarterfinals. But the expected and most important matchup may be in the semis between them and Dayton. Those two met a few weeks ago and the Flyers won by one point behind their balanced offense. That’s the main problem with Davidson is that while it has two of the best players in the A10, production from elsewhere is often unpredictable.
Record: 21-10, 13-5
The Flyers may be the best pick from the bottom of the bracket to make the Championship due to an offense that ranks first and defense that ranks third in the Conference in terms of efficiency. They also get scoring from a variety of areas and can bang down low with a couple bigs. Still, Saint Louis has an experienced roster and won’t be an easy out in the quarterfinals. Dayton will be a small favorite against Davidson in the semis and if it can get past them again, a third try against VCU is on the table. The Rams won the first two meetings by a combined six points.
There are other viable teams that could knock off one of the top seeds, but expecting one of them to make a run to the Championship is a tough bet. Saint Louis makes the most sense as an underdog, yet it hasn’t won more than two Games in a row since mid-January. St. Bonaventure closed the season on a nice run, but that was mostly due to Schedule as it started just 5-5 in Conference play. VCU will have some close calls, but its defense should get it to the title Game with the bottom of the bracket a little more of a question. Davidson and Dayton look set to meet in the semifinals with the Flyers getting a slight edge.