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A-10 Summer Hot Takes

It’s what we like to do, right? Make bold, brash, seemingly ridiculous claims on twitter months before our favorite teams are actually playing games that count?

Yep. We all like to channel our inner Skip Bayless on Twitter every once in a while and post a few hot takes. Yesterday, I actually asked you for them.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting, reasonable, and insane takes that A-10 fans could muster before the holiday weekend commences.

 

Freezing Cold 

This is less of a take and closer to a fact. Obviously, the 2018 recruiting class of Kyle Lofton, Osun Osunniyi, and Dom Welch (and unknowns Alpha Okoli and Bobby Planutis) was a wild success. In a year that was supposed to be primarily rebuilding after the departure of Jaylen Adams, the Bonnies made a run to the A-10 Championship game on the backs of their freshman. In November, they added Justin Winston, a highly regarded, 6’7 forward out of New Jersey as the first recruit in the class of 2019. From there they added Matt Johnson, Robert Carpenter, Jaren English, and Alejandro Vazquez, a mix of the classic underrated Mark Schmidt recruit, and players that were recruited heavily by Power 5 and other A-10 schools. So yes, as Bill said, the future looks great in Olean.

 

Chilled 

While nearly every pundit has Dayton in the 2020 March Madness field, we’ve reached the point where no A-10 team can consider themselves a lock. So, it is entirely possible that the Flyers, who are loaded with talent up and down the roster and have a potential POY in Obi Toppin, could end up on the wrong side of the bubble. There’s no margin for error for A-10 teams, and a weak non-conference performance is a death sentence to mid-majors, even those with the history that Dayton has. Should the Flyers make the tournament? Yes. Would it be absolutely shocking if they missed? No.

I don’t think the Rams will be “favored” to do so, but a preseason Top 25 team certainly has the potential to reach the Sweet 16. VCU will need Marcus Evans fully healthy for the whole season, which is a big if considering his injury history. They will also need Marcus Santos Silva to continue improving as a monster in the paint. If MSS takes the next leap forward, he could even be a sleeper candidate for A-10 POY. How far a team goes in the NCAA Tournament depends heavily on uncontrollable factors like draw and injuries, but the Rams have the experience and talent necessary to make another run deep into March.

 

Room Temperature 

#FireMooneyMafia will be back for another this season and I suppose this could be the one where they finally get their wish. The Spiders could be sneaky good in a loaded field in 2019-2020 with Grant Golden, Jacob Gilyard, and Nathan Cayo returning. But, if they fail to live up to expectations, has time finally run out on Mooney? Hard to say, but I’m leaning towards the side suggesting he won’t get fired. Whether it’s because the Spiders perform well, or because of the Athletic Department’s refusal to get rid of him, I’m not sure, but if I had to bet, I would bet on the #FireMooneyMafia hanging around for the 2020-2021 season.

Frampton had 100 three-pointers in his freshman campaign. He’ll need another 410 to break the record currently held by Fletcher Magee of 509. At his current pace, he’ll finish 18th all-time in the NCAA. Steph Curry managed 414 triples in only three seasons, but then again, he’s Steph Curry. Additionally, he’ll have another season as the 3rd scoring option behind Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady. He’ll also have to contend with Bob Mckillop, who loves to whip the ball around and involve all players on the court in his offense. It’s possible that Frampton averages 137 three-pointers per season (good for 3rd in the NCAA last year) the rest of his career to finish with 510 made threes. But it’s more likely that he finishes a stellar four-year career somewhere in the mid 400’s.

 

Warm 

It’s too early for this. David Cox had a successful first season developing his team, has added significant talent for 2019-2020, and has built a schedule that will allow them to compete for the NCAA Tournament. Even if they don’t succeed in reaching it, cutting ties with Cox now would not be in their best interest. It was only a few years ago that fans (and myself) were clamoring for Hurley’s firing. I won’t make the same mistake twice here. Rhode Island has the potential to be good for years under Cox and regardless of this season’s result he should be around for at least 2020-2021.

 

UMass fans are excited about their stellar recruiting class, and rightfully so. It includes Tre Mitchell (a consensus top-100 player) Tyrone Weeks Jr (3-stars), and Preston Santos (3-stars). But we’ve seen this before. The Minutemen have had no problem bringing in talent. It’s been the development and coaching of the talent that’s caused problems in Amherst. Even if the young bucks perform well in their first season, there are at least eight other teams with more overall talent and experience than UMass. Top-10? Sure. Top-8? Maybe. Top-6? Now you’re pushing it.

Hottest of Takes 🔥🔥🔥

Okay, now for the fun part.

Oh man, could you imagine? The bars in Olean better be ready if Jerome speaks this into existence. I think it’s not inconceivable that Osun or Lofton ends up on an All-American team at some point during their collegiate careers, but as of now, those two are the only ones who have demonstrated the ability to perform at that level. As much as I would like to see how many Bona fans would make the trek to Atlanta for the Final Four, this isn’t 1970, and the Bonnies don’t have Bob Lanier. Reaching the NCAA Tournament though? Entirely possible.

Unless Kevin Durant gets cleared by the NCAA to play for the Hawks in the Barclays Center, Saint Joseph’s won’t make it to Sunday of the A-10 Tournament. Given the departures of Lamar Kimble, Charlie Brown, and Jared Bynum, it would be a major success if Billy Lange could coax this team out of the bottom-four in his first season. If the Hawks do finish in the bottom-four, they would have to win four games against superior opponents to reach the championship game. Not happening this year.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Just nope. This has been said for many years now, yet the A-10 is still trucking along. Because of their clear emphasis on the basketball programs, I don’t believe VCU and Dayton will leave, even with the constant realignment of the conferences. The A-10 and its fans take pride in seeing the league garner multiple bids year-after-year with the odds continually being stacked against the mid-majors that compose it. The A-10 will continue to persevere. Huzzah!