It’s finally March, and it’s finally conference tourney time!
Looking back on the last update, which you can find here, we had a few more teams fall out of the at-large race for the A10. They will now have to win the A10 Tournament this week in Washington, D.C.
The first team to exit the bid race was the Dayton Flyers in a shocking loss to the La Salle Explorers at Tom Gola Arena. Dayton was up 36-19 at half time, but La Salle battled back to beat the Flyers by two. This was a Quad 3 loss for Dayton, and with their resume already having three Quad 4 losses, this appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the Flyers. Joe Lunardi still has Dayton in his First Four Out after wins against Richmond and Davidson this past week, and BracketMatrix.com has Dayton near the Next Four Out as well, but it now is pretty certain that the Flyers will now have to win three games in three days in D.C., as they secured the double-bye after their win against Richmond on Tuesday.
Speaking of last Tuesday, St. Bonaventure and VCU played in what appeared to be a win or no bid kind of game. The VCU Rams obliterated the Bonnies, which certainly kills the at-large chances for them now. St. Bonaventure will also be in the same boat, having to win three games in three days. Bona also clinched a double-bye after their win against Richmond on Friday night.
That leaves us with two teams with at-large chances: Davidson and VCU.
Let’s get a closer look.
24-3 Overall, 15-3 Conference
Quad 1: 2-2, Quad 2: 3-3, Quad 3: 9-0, Quad 4: 10-0
Davidson took care of business on Wednesday and beat George Mason at home to take at least a share of the A10 regular season title. Then the Cats locked up the out-right A10 title regardless of their loss at Dayton on Saturday as VCU lost to Saint Louis. That leaves Davidson with the #1 seed in the A10 tourney. Most bracketologists believe that Davidson can do no wrong in DC this week, and I believe that as well. Their resume is very strong, along with an A10 title to put the cherry on top. The Wildcats are now just playing to improve their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which is a great feeling to have as a Davidson fan. If you are still unsure about that, history is on Davidson’s side. Every outright winner of the A10 regular season over the last 36 years that did not win the A10 tournament has made the NCAA Tournament as an at-large. The last time that did not happen in the A10 was 1985 when West Virginia won the conference outright, lost in the A10 tournament, and missed the NCAA Tournament. Something tells me that will not happen to Davidson this season.
Projection: Firmly in the field
21-8 Overall, 14-4 in conference
Quad 1: 2-3, Quad 2: 4-4, Quad 3: 11-1, Quad 4: 4-0
VCU finished up the final week of conference play with a dominant victory over St. Bonaventure and then lost a tight game on the road against Saint Louis. The loss does not hurt them as it was a Q1, but it would have made their resume very juicy going into the conference tournament. As of right now, BracketMatrix.com has VCU IN the tournament as one of the Last 4 In (which would mean a game at UD Arena, ironically). Joe Lunardi believes the Rams are in the First Four Out, which could also be the case. Right now, I’m on the side that VCU is one of the last one or two teams in the field. They don’t have any bad losses (Their Q3 loss is to Wagner at home, and they are a good team). They Q1 and Q2 record is decent and comparable to other bubble teams. Their best win is at conference winner Davidson. Right now, I think VCU fans just need to hope they win their first game of the A10 tournament to feel good no matter what happens the rest of the way.
Projection: I think VCU is IN for now. They are probably Last Four In, but bid thieves could push them out, which is scary to think about. VCU fans can feel good about their at-large chances as long as they win their first game in the A10 tournament AND win their semi final game. A loss in the semis could put them firmly on the fence with a lot of sweaty palms on Selection Sunday. Now that the regular season has ended, I believe the plan for the Rams is to get to Sunday, and you’re in no matter what.
I’m still sticking with my guns that the A10 will get 2 bids. History is on their side; the A10 has gotten multiple bids every year since 2005. As long as VCU does not get upset, I feel like they will get in along with Davidson.