It hasn’t been the greatest season for the Atlantic 10 thus far. We have pretty much seen enough to call it for the teams that have a chance at an at-large berth and who just has no shot.
Let’s take a look at the teams who are in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament and their resumes:
20-4 Overall, 11-2 Conference
Quad 1: 2-1, Quad 2: 2-3, Quad 3: 8-0, Quad 4: 8-0
Despite losses to VCU at home and Rhode Island on the road, Davidson is still very much in the field of 68. At this time of year, bracketologists everywhere start to look at teams in the projected 9-10-11-12 seed line and start dropping teams after every little loss on their season. Remember, none of these guys are the selection committee. They are all a little biased one way or another. Davidson’s resume is in good shape. The VCU and Rhode Island losses are both Quad 2 losses and those do not hurt resumes. Davidson also has no bad losses, aka 16-0 in the Quad 3 and 4. Now, Davidson has a tough schedule ahead, hosting Saint Louis this weekend and later playing George Mason and Dayton. There’s also a game with Fordham sandwiched in between those, which can be a potential tough game. Nonetheless, Davidson is safe for the time being. They can also afford another loss in the Quad 1/2 range if they wanted, but I wouldn’t push it any further than that.
Prediction: On track for an at-large berth
18-8 Overall, 10-3 in conference
Quad 1: 3-2, Quad 2: 4-3, Quad 3: 2-0, Quad 4: 9-3
Here’s the story with the Dayton Flyers: No matter how you look at their NET (highest in the A10), KenPom (highest in the A10), and number of Quad 1 and 2 wins (7; highest in the A10), they are still down the list on the outside of the bubble. And it’s all because of the three Quad 4 losses back in November. Dayton has a lot to like about their resume, but when they are put up against the other teams on the bubble, they are the first one thrown out due to the Quad 4 losses. There is still a small percentage that they can climb back into any at-large conversation, but that would require winning out in the A10 (which doesn’t seem too far-fetched if you look at their schedule) and most likely making the final in the A10 tournament. They have two Quad 2 games at Richmond and vs Davidson at home to end their season, which can look good along with the potential to win the A10 regular season title. All that looks great. How that potentially looks to the committee with those Quad 4 losses is a mystery. Right now, all Dayton can do is keep winning.
Prediction: Have to win out and get to the final of the A10 tournament to get in
16-7 Overall, 9-3 in conference
Quad 1: 2-2, Quad 2: 4-4, Quad 3: 5-1, Quad 4: 5-0
VCU is interesting because they have a decent resume, but the 30 point loss to Dayton pushed them down on the metric ladder quite a bit. They were 52 on KenPom going into that game, and now they sit at 79, where most teams that don’t make the tournament are usually at. The NET likes them a bit, and they climbed up that ladder a bit after the big win at George Mason. VCU is not out of it, but the Rams need to win out to have a chance at an at-large berth. Looking at their resume, they have a decent case with their only blemish is the Quad 3 loss to Wagner back in November. That’s not the problem. The problem is five of their remaining six games are Quad 3 games, which are all must wins (at Fordham, Richmond, Mason, at UMass, St. Bona), and those won’t drastically move the needle toward the bubble. But their last game is at Saint Louis, which will most likely be a Quad 1 game. That is a must win for VCU to make a case on the bubble going into the A10 tournament. The Rams are not out of it.
Prediction: Have to win out in regular season to get in
16-8 Overall, 8-4 in conference
Quad 1: 1-3, Quad 2: 2-3, Quad 3: 4-2, Quad 4: 9-0
Saint Louis had a good resume and a chance to get on the right side of the bubble after they beat Dayton. Then, the Billikens lost to St. Bonaventure twice in a row, at home and on the road. They really could only afford to lose the game on the road against the Bonnies, but now that they lost both, they have really dropped down the pecking order of the bubble. Saint Louis does have a decent chance to make up for those losses, and it all starts this upcoming Saturday when they go on the road to play conference leader Davidson. That will make up for the Quad 3 loss at home to the Bonnies last week and get them back on track. This is the last Quad 1 game on their schedule, and now it becomes a must-win for the Billikens. They also have three Quad 2 games in a row at Richmond, at Rhode Island, and vs VCU at home. Those have now all become must wins as well. The Billikens are not out of it yet, but they have no more margin for error for the rest of the season, and that also includes beating up on La Salle and Saint Joseph’s.
Prediction: Have to win out in regular season and get to the semi-final of the A10 tournament to get in
15-7 Overall, 7-4 in conference
Quad 1: 3-3, Quad 2: 3-3, Quad 3: 2-1, Quad 4: 7-0
The Bonnies looked all but out of it, and then they went and beat Saint Louis twice in a row, first on the road and then on Monday night at home. Those are Quad 1 and Quad 2 wins, respectively. All of a sudden, St. Bonaventure is rising up the bubble. The only problem is the metrics absolutely hate them. 87 in NET and 88 in KenPom are not tournament teams. I would be hard-pressed to find any at-large team, especially from a mid-major conference, that had a NET or KenPom ranking higher than 80. Nonetheless, Bona is still in it. The rest of their schedule does not help them with them all being Quad 3 and 4 games, but they could win those games by 15-20 points to increase their metrics, as Dayton proved by beating VCU, Duquesne, and George Washington by 20+ points. That can be a start. But the Bonnies have a great opportunity for another Quad 1 win on the road at VCU on March 1st. That can help their case as long as they don’t drop any stinkers up to that point.
Prediction: Have to win out in regular season and get to the final of the A10 tournament to get in
The Atlantic 10 is bad this year. Davidson is really the only team that has built a firm case to receive an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament. Dayton, Saint Louis, VCU, and St. Bonaventure are all good teams, but they fooled around and now have a lot of work to do to get into the NCAA tournament. These 4 teams have a path to an at-large invite, but they all have to win out and make some noise in the A10 tournament to get there. If you noticed, all five of these teams play each other in some fashion in the last 5-6 games of the season. They are all going to knock each other out and most likely force 3 or 4 teams to win the A10 tournament in order to make the big dance.
Prediction: 2 Bids
History is on our side. The A10 has not been a one bid league since 2005. One way or another, this league always figures it out. The most likely outcome is that Davidson gets an at-large berth and one of Dayton, VCU, Saint Louis, or St. Bonaventure earns the auto-bid at the A10 tournament.