It is about a month away from Selection Sunday. The A10 has had a strong year this season with many teams improving greatly from last season’s disaster. Right now, the A10 is firmly standing at 2 teams in the projected tournament field. The conference also has 2 teams firmly on the bubble fence, rotating in and out on various bracketologist’s projections. One team could have a chance to sneak onto the bubble. The rest of the A10 teams need to win the whole thing in Brooklyn in March. Let’s take a look at those teams.
Safely in the Field
The Flyers are obviously in the field of 68 and are a high seed. Dayton keeps climbing the AP rankings week after week, and they leave no doubt who the kings of the A10 are this season. It would take a disaster times one thousand for the Flyers to blow their chance to get into the dance, as they are a projected 2 seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracket and Jerry Palm’s bracket. They are also a 2 seed on Bracket Matrix. At this point in the season, Dayton is focused on going undefeated in conference play while improving/maintaining their seed line in the NCAA Tournament. Can Dayton get a one seed?
The Rhody Rams are safely in the field even after their loss at Dayton last week. They are still 11-2 in a good A10 conference and have good wins against VCU (twice), Alabama, and Duquesne. Their losses to Dayton and Richmond do not hurt them, but their only bad loss at Brown at the end of the non-conference season has since been nullified by the VCU and Duquesne wins. Right now, Joe Lunardi has Rhode Island as a 9 seed and Bracket Matrix has the same. Jerry Palm has the Rams as a 10 seed. Thus makes Rhode Island a safe lock into the field. They only need to keep winning the games that they should win. One bad loss to a team in the bottom half of the conference standings and it would move them to the bubble.
On the bubble
After their huge win at home against VCU on Saturday, Richmond has worked itself into the bubble conversation. While most of their fanbase and fans that follow the A10 think that this win puts them in the field, bracketologists around the country beg to differ. Joe Lunardi lists Richmond in his “Next Four Out”. Jerry Palm has them as his “First Four Out”. Bracket Matrix has them as the “Next Four Out”. It seems that Richmond needs one more quality win or to rack up a series of wins to get into the field. They also have to avoid a loss to the bottom half of the conference. Their best wins are against Wisconsin on a neutral floor, at Rhode Island, and VCU. They have that really bad loss to Radford that seems to be nullified after their win against VCU. Their loss to Saint Louis at home is a borderline Quad 2 loss right now and could be a Quad 3 loss when the season ends, which hurts and is probably their only blemish against them now. The rest of Richmond’s schedule is very unforgiving. Their game next weekend at St. Bonaventure is a Quad 2 game. They end the season at Duquesne, which is another Quad 2 game that they hope can become a Quad 1 by the end of the season. The Spiders have no Quad 1 games left, so they need to pick up one or both of those games as well as to not to drop any of their remaining games to GW, UMass, Davidson, or George Mason. Essentially, end the season at least 5-1 and the Spiders should be on the right side of the bubble.
VCU was on the right side of the bubble on all of the projections, and then the George Mason game happened. Then, they blew a chance to get back on the right side of the bubble with a Quad 1 loss at Richmond. Now, VCU sits on the wrong side of the bubble, but miraculously, they are barely on the wrong side. They are listed as “First Four Out” on Joe Lunardi’s projection. They are on Bracket Matrix’s “Next Four Out”. Jerry Palm kicked them off entirely, which is what most people thought would happen. That George Mason loss will undoubtedly be a Quad 4 loss at the end of the season, which is a huge blow. Their win against LSU is a borderline Quad 1 win right now, but LSU is reeling right now, which hurts the Rams as well. They have a home win against Richmond that helps, but only as a Quad 2 win. The only way to salvage this? Win at home against Dayton on Tuesday. Win or lose against the Flyers, VCU probably still has to win out to have a chance. The Rams have Quad 2 games at SLU and at Davidson in their last 6 games, but I’m not sure that will move the needle that much. Their season seems to be on the line on Tuesday night.
Work to do
The Dukes aren’t on anyone’s radar right now, but they are the only team that has a chance to sneak onto the bubble because they have a game at Dayton. If Duquesne were to somehow win that game, they would possibly be put onto the bubble as that quality of a win would nullify one of or a few of their bad losses at UMass, Marshall, and UAB. And if a Dayton win does not put them on the bubble, they still have a Quad 2 game at St. Bonaventure, which moves the needle a bit, but then they have a Quad 1 game at VCU and a Quad 2 home game against Richmond. Basically, Duquesne has to run the table the rest of the way to have a chance to get in the tournament field. Good wins get rid of bad losses. A win at Dayton would be a great win.