Ah, prediction time. It’s one of the more pointless things that human beings do, and yet we keep doing it. We try and try to be correct, and yet we are often wrong again and again.
As we do every year for the A10 tournament, each of our staff members tries to predict the A10 tournament. Our guys will try and predict the winner, a potential Thursday upset, and a potential Friday upset. Their twitter handle is next to their name. Give them a follow and a mention. We are always open to talk A10 hoops (as long as you’re nice and produce fun memes).
Let’s get to it!
Chris Pyle (@parlaypyle)
My process is that if I pick them every year in the staff prediction, they will eventually win it all, right? Even though it’s been almost 20 years since the Flyers have won the A10 tournament, it feels like this could be the year. They are playing well right now and feel confident after beating Davidson. Positive vibes only.
Potential Thursday Upset: #10 UMass over #7 George Washington
With the firing of Coach Matt McCall last week, the Minutemen responded with a great win over Fordham. I honestly like picking teams that have something to play for. That something is sending their soon-to-be former coach off with a tournament victory.
Potential Friday Upset: #5 Saint Louis over #4 St. Bonaventure
The 5 seed over a 4 seed isn’t a very sexy prediction, but it is when the 4 seed has already beaten the 5 seed twice this season. It’s really hard to beat a team three times in one season. The Billikens get revenge this time.
Daniel Frank (@n1a2v3y4)
Edward Major (@edmajorphoto)
There is a reason the Wildcats went 25-5 (15-3) this season. VCU and Dayton could give them a run for their money in this tournament. After all, those clubs handed Davidson two of their three losses. But an upset like that is only possible on championship Sunday. By that point, the momentum from the season, the tournament, and a hunger for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018 should help push the Wildcats over the hump.
UMass ranks third in the A10 in scoring (75 ppg), while George Washington ranks 10th (67.7). UMass is shooting 37.3% from beyond the arc versus George Washington’s 33.4%. UMass hits three out of every four free throws they take. George Washington is lucky to hit two out of three. That kind of statistical difference gives the Minutemen a solid chance to send the Colonials home (not that it’s a far drive).
Potential Friday upset: #6mRichmond over #3 VCU
If there was ever an upset to be had in the quarterfinals, this is it. The Spiders fell twice to the Rams this season, once close and once not so close. That makes this Richmond team hungry. And if they can use a favorable Thursday matchup against a beat up Rhode Island or Duquesne team, the Spiders can crawl their way into the semifinals.
Jason Boleman (@jasonboleman_)
Yes, ok, this is a homer pick. But, the Rams have won eight of their last nine games and are a combined 10-4 in road or neutral games. The Rams are a combined 4-0 against potential Friday night opponents and are essentially equal with Dayton on talent. Dayton and VCU are my favorites to win the title, and in the case of a tie, I lean towards the team with a top-ranked defense.
An 8-9 game is essentially a “pick-em,” while our “Wednesday Night Pillow Fighters” seem to be heavy underdogs against SLU and Richmond. That leaves an intriguing matchup between an overachieving GW team and a UMass team with a lame duck coach. UMass is 2-0 since announcing Matt McCall’s firing, including an impressive overtime win against George Mason. Look for the positive momentum to continue in D.C.
Saint Louis has closed out the season strong, while the Bonnies’ lack of depth appears to be catching up to them. The metrics love the Billikens, who will avenge two earlier losses to the Bonnies when it matters most. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Billikens are favored by oddsmakers in this game.
David Korn (@david_korn4)
Defense, defense, defense. VCU is in the top 20 in the country for almost every defensive metric. If Vince Williams and Ace Baldwin can muster 70 points on the offensive end, it’s going to be almost impossible to beat them.
It pains me to pick against my own school, but UMass seems to have a team of destiny aura surrounding them. They haven’t lost since they announced they would be firing Coach Matt McCall after the season, upsetting Fordham and George Mason, who both recently beat GW. I don’t expect them to go much further than this, but GW is beatable.
Fordham has been shorthanded in both of their matchups against Davidson, missing either Chuba Ohams or Darius Quisenberry. Now fully healthy, they have the size down low and the perimeter scoring to match up with the conference’s top team. The question is, would Davidson’s regular season credentials earn them an at large bid if they bow out of the tournament early?
Jack Milko (@jack_milko)
Winner: St. Bonaventure Bonnies
The Bonnies have had an absolute rollercoaster of a season, book-ended by winning the Charleston Classic in November and finishing the season strong by winning eight of their last nine games. They are playing well at the right time. Sure, Osun Osunniyi’s left ankle remains a question mark. But he played at “85%” in last Friday’s win over Richmond, and the 6-foot-10 forward held his own and was a huge reason as to why the Bonnies emerged victorious. Having an all senior starting five, coupled with that fact that Osunniyi gets to rest his ankle for a week, has me picking the Brown and White to cut down the nets again.
Man, I love both of these teams. I love what Kyle Neptune has done with Fordham. He has completely turned the program around in his first year. But George Mason has arguably the best player in the conference in Josh Oduro, and I expect him to shine this week in D.C. Plus, Mason can shoot the ball well from beyond the arc. If they get hot from deep, they can make a run.
By George, the dream is alive! Yes, Davidson is the best team in the conference. They’ve had a terrific season. But they have won a lot of close games and are due for an unlucky break. I’d rather see them get unlucky in the Atlantic 10 Tournament than in the NCAA Tournament. (Which, there is a 100% chance Davidson is dancing—and we would all love to see multiple Atlantic 10 bids.) Plus, over the last ten years, the #1 overall seed in the Atlantic 10 has won the tournament just twice (St. Louis in 2013, and St. Bonaventure in 2021). And last year, the Bonnies won the tournament with a different format and schedule. Needless to say, history is not on Davidson’s side. Even though the Wildcats just beat the Patriots on Mar. 2, I like how Mason matches up with Davidson. On a neutral floor, just a few miles from campus, I think Mason exacts their revenge and Oduro rebounds after shooting just 4-of-17 from the field against Davidson.
Sam Basel (@samjuan2878)
As the great Daniel Frank once said, the A-10 is defined year after year by its exceptional guard play. No team is more emblematic of that this season than VCU. Ace Baldwin and Keyshawn Curry each have had stellar individual performances this season, and with the front court pair of Hason Ward Vince Williams, the Rams have developed the second best defense in the conference. In person, it’s clear why. Against Fordham, VCU ran a full court press for nearly the entire game, and won more by stopping what Fordham wanted to do than running what they wanted to do. VCU is a team no one wants to play in March, and they know it.
This might be a bit of a cop out since the seeds are so close, but this is the game to watch on Thursday. Back in February, the Rams and Patriots played an instant classic in t he first meeting between Kim English and Kyle Neptune, with the Rams barely coming out on top. These are two programs in very similar stages of development, so it’s anyone’s game in this one.
All season long, the bonnies have not figured out what to do with their bench. If they haven’t figured it out by now, I foresee an early exit for the reigning tournament champs.
Joe Branderbit (@joe_branderbit)
This is a pick that probably isn’t as popular as it should be. We often forget just how good of a team Dayton is even though they have lost against very weak opponents. In a championship setting, the cream always rises to the top, and with their at large bid gone, winning the tournament is the only way the Flyers will be able to go dancing, and they know that. I think that they put it together when it matters the most.
The Minutemen come into the tournament winning two tough games against Fordham and George Mason. They will also be playing to get their soon-to-be-fired coach Matt McCall as far in the tournament as possible, and that cannot be underestimated. And who knows, maybe seeing their fellow Minutewomen win their respective championship will light a spark for UMass.
Potential Friday Upset: #5 Saint Louis over #4 St. Bonaventure
Saint Louis will be playing the winner of the Philly battle of St. Joe’s and La Salle, so unless a meteor hits the Saint Louis hotel room, it’s safe to say they will be playing the Bonnies. It’s very hard to beat a team three times this in one year, especially when the Billikens and Bonnies rather evenly matched. Give me the Billikens to upset the Bonnies chances to win back-to-back titles.
Grant Hogan (@granthogan7)
Winner: Saint Louis
You know what? I was initially going to go with Dayton for this pick, but in such a wide-open field I don’t see how the favorite takes it home. Also, it’s substantially more fun to be a homer and go with my beloved Billikens. The Bonnies are terrifying, but it’s so difficult to beat any team 3 times, let alone one as well-rounded as SLU. Here’s to hoping Travis Ford concocts some
2019 magic again.
I think UMass will have a great shot at GW, but Vegas might even favor the Minutemen in that game. Instead, I think a disappointing, yet talented URI could spoil Grant Golden’s 7th A10 Tournament appearance.
With games in DC, I think Kim English has a real chance to make some noise in his first postseason. The GMU media buzz has worn off throughout the season, but Josh Oduro and co. are still capable of beating anybody, even a terrific Davidson squad.