5 Thoughts on the 2019-2020 Atlantic 10 Conference Pairings
It’s that time of year again. We’ve passed the spring recruitment period, and most teams have filled out their roster for the upcoming season. This time of year, rabid fans are usually found digging around on Twitter, their fan forum, or various unheard of websites dying to find any crumb of news on their beloved school. Yesterday though, the A-10 released their conference pairings for the 2019-2020 season, giving A-10 fanatics something to discuss, argue, and wonder about.
Here are my initial reactions to the schedule news
Rhode Island has an AMAZING opportunity
Rhody already had scheduled a non-conference slate that would give them a serious look at the NCAA Tournament should they prove themselves worthy. Their early-season games will include Alabama, Providence, Maryland, West Virginia, and a potential matchup against LSU in the Jamaica Classic. Playing VCU, Davidson, and Dayton twice in conference solidifies the opportunity to dance for the Rams. Now they just have to go out and win some games.
Dayton isn’t playing Davidson twice because….?
It’s no secret that people are expecting the
Flying Toppin’s Flyers to dance this year. Of course, every scheduling decision can’t be made to allow the top teams to play each other. But allowing Dayton and Davidson, two of the most exciting teams in the league, with two of the preseason POTY favorites, to battle twice just made sense. It will be nice to see an up and coming Duquesne team get two cracks at the Flyers, but Dayton and UMass? Eh.
The Bonnies are poised for a sub-250 SOS
The Bonnies didn’t do themselves any favors with their out of conference schedule. They probably expected the Belfast Classic (being played in Florida instead of Ireland now) to include a couple of decent teams, but instead, they’re stuck with San Diego, FAU, and UIC. Their only Power 5 game will be against Rutgers in Toronto. This schedule is a far cry from the 2017-2018 slate which featured, Maryland, TCU, and Syracuse. To make matters worse, the Bonnies are playing GW, Fordham, and St. Joseph’s twice next season. While they should rack up the wins, they have virtually no shot at an at-large bid and are likely looking at a strength of schedule in the bottom fifth of college basketball.
Don’t Sleep on Saint Louis
Saint Louis will likely take a step back after graduating four key players from their A-10 Championship squad. But don’t be surprised if the Billiken’s are still contending for a double-bye this season. They avoid playing VCU, Davidson, and Rhode Island twice, and will skip the trips to VCU and Bona. 10-12 wins aren’t out of the question for this team, especially in a year expected to be as competitive as 2019-2020 promises to be.
VCU is still the favorite
Don’t let any of this other talk fool you. VCU is still the team to beat. It doesn’t matter that they have to play Davidson, Dayton, and Rhode Island twice. They still have the returning regular season A-10 Championship team still intact, with new additions coming in to hopefully bolster their offense. The Rams are getting a lot of love from outside sources as well, being ranked in the Top 25 by nearly every way, way, WAY too early power rankings. If Evans stays healthy, smart money stays on VCU.