With just one week left in the college basketball regular season, Brooklyn lurks right around the corner. VCU and St. Joe’s currently sit atop the Atlantic 10 conference standings while Dayton and Saint Bonaventure both remain in striking distance for the top spot. George Washington sits on the outside is desperately trying to grab as high of seed as possible. Heading into the conference tournament, most expect one of those five teams to emerge victorious. But this is college basketball where crazy things happen every day. Time to take a look at a few dark horse teams that could wind up winning this year’s A-10 tournament.
After winning the A-10 regular season title last year, the Davidson Wildcats have fallen off a bit. They currently hold a 17-10 record and sit at sixth place in the conference standings (9-7). Led by star guard Jack Gibbs, the Wildcats seem capable of beating anyone on any given night. Gibbs is averaging nearly 25 points, five assists, and four rebounds per game this year. These numbers not only draw comparisons to former Wildcat Stephen Curry, they also put him right in the running for A-10 Player of the Year. With an explosive player like Gibbs, watch out for Davidson to make a run at this year’s A-10 tournament title.
2. Rhode Island
Due to a ton of injuries, the Rhode Island Rams have undergone a rather disappointing season. In the first game this year they lost star player E.C. Matthews to a torn ACL. The Rams also recently learned they will be without dominant center Hassan Martin for the remainder of the season. Not to mention a number of other injuries throughout the course of this year as well. Despite all this, Rhode Island went into Dayton last Saturday and found a way to win. The Rams shot the ball extremely well and received some breakout performances from role players. Even with so many injuries, Rhode Island remains capable of making magic happen.
Showing promise at times, the Richmond Spiders have experienced an up and down season. They remain just above .500 at 15-14 after narrowly losing to Dayton at home. Richmond continues to prove that when they catch fire, the Spiders can light up the score board. Richmond’s downfall, however, comes with their defense. The Spiders rank 12th in the A-10 when it comes to overall defense. They also do not do themselves any favors from the foul line, shooting the worst percentage in the conference from the charity stripe. A player like TJ Cline does give Richmond a chance to win any game though. The junior forward dropped a staggering 36 points in his last game against Dayton. If the Spiders can find a way to combine a few defensive stops with their great shooting from the field, anything can happen. Richmond has the capability to take home the A-10 tournament title and steal a bid in the Big Dance.
Davidson, Rhode Island, and Richmond look like the top three dark horses to win the A-10 tournament. However, anything can happen in college basketball. Watch out for teams like Duquesne or Fordham to possibly make a run at stealing a NCAA tournament bid.