After 5 games in conference play, we have four teams sitting at the bottom of the standings with 1-4 records, 2 of which are riding 4 game losing streaks. But, with plenty of games still remaining, it is possible to see them rise up through the standings as the season progresses. Let’s take a look at which of these four has the best chance of doing so.
After beating Saint Joseph’s to open conference play, the Colonials were feeling good about the A-10 and had good reason to do so. But now, after dropping 4 straight games, they will need to turn things around before things get out of hand. Easier said than done though, as they are starting a 5 game stretch that features games at VCU and St. Bonaventure, and they will be welcoming in Duquesne, George Mason and Davidson. This five game stretch will be telling for the rest of the Colonials’ season. I’ll put the number needed in these five games as 3. If Yuta Watanabe and company can get 3 wins in this stretch, that should set them up nicely for the rest of the schedule, and help them move up in the conference. Will they do it… we will see.
The Billikens had high hopes heading into this season. Of course, that was built off the idea that they would have their full roster. But, even with the short roster, they have done an okay job this season, all things considered. Not including La Salle, their other 3 conference losses have only been by an average of 5 points. If the Billikens can find a way to pull these close ones out, they will have a chance to climb the standings. But as they stand right now, they just do not have enough to get in the thick of things in conference play (in my opinion).
To say the Rams have struggled recently would be a massive understatement. They did have a nice first half against St. Bonaventure, but besides that, their last three games have been hard to watch. They just can’t find a way to put up points, which is a problem. Will Tavares went 2-13 against Davidson, and when you combine that with Chartouny seeming to have quit shooting on offense, it has set up for Fordham to struggle. The key, I believe, still resides in Chartouny trying to be a scorer as opposed to a pass-first player. His steals are great, and he is first in the country in that category. But right now the Rams need scoring, and he hasn’t provided that. If Fordham doesn’t find a way to score soon, they will find themselves at the bottom of the conference when the season is up.
The Explorers have come so close in there last three games, only to find themselves short every time. Regardless of the reason, La Salle needs to find a way to close out these games. They had the Duquesne game at 81-77 with 13 seconds left in the first overtime, and they found a way to blow it. They were up by 15 on VCU to open that game, only to let it slip in the end. Taking it a game at a time, their next two games are home against Fordham and then at Richmond. La Salle, especially with B.J Johnson, has the chance to rise in the conference, it will just be the matter of forgetting on what has happened in the past, and taking it a game at a time. Watch out for the Explorers, I think they have a lot left to show us.