Selection Sunday is just a couple weeks away, and though we’re starting to get a clearer picture as to who’s going to go dancing this season, there are still quite a few question marks. Where will teams be seeded, and will the Atlantic 10 sneak a third team into the Big Dance? It seems tough, but it could happen. Here’s a look at where A-10 teams stand in terms of the NCAA Tournament picture as of right now.
5 Best Wins: @ Rhode Island, vs. Rhode Island, @St. Bonaventure, @Alabama, vs. Richmond
Bad Losses: @ Massachusetts
Overall Projection: 8 Seed
Dayton should be considered a lock for the NCAA Tournament at this point. The Flyers have 21 wins, and barring an absolutely catastrophic finish to the regular season, this team is going to get an at-large bid. Since my last Bracketology post, the Flyers picked up a great road win over Rhode Island, and this team only has 1 bad loss at this point. I think Dayton’s ceiling is a 6 seed for the NCAA Tournament, but that would probably take winning out the regular season as well as the Atlantic 10 Tournament. If not, I’d expect Dayton to end up around the 7 or 8 line going into March Madness. Needless to say, this team is familiar being anywhere from a 7-11 seed.
5 Best Wins: vs. Dayton, vs. Middle Tennessee, @ Richmond, @ St. Bonaventure, vs. Princeton
Bad Losses: @ Fordham
Overall Projection: 8 Seed
VCU and Dayton are basically equals at this point. The Rams have taken down Dayton at the Siegel Center, but they still have to go on the road to face Rhode Island and the Flyers year again before the end of the season. Depending on the outcomes of those games, VCU’s position could swing a little bit. Either way, VCU is going to be in the NCAA Tournament for a 7th consecutive year. Will Wade is establishing himself nicely at VCU, and the Rams may be poised to pull a couple of upsets in the Big Dance this year. If they can beat Dayton and Rhode Island on the road between now and the end of the season, we could see them jump up a couple of seeds. I’m going to guess the Rams end up as an 8 or 9 seed, but this team loves when people begin to doubt it.
Rhode Island Rams
5 Best Wins: vs. Cincinnati, vs. Belmont, @ George Mason, @ Davidson, vs. St. Bonaventure
Bad Losses: vs. La Salle, vs. Fordham
Overall Projection: Next 4 Out
I think the Rams still have a chance at the NCAA Tournament because of how weak the bubble has been this season. Just when it looks like the Rams are going to totally take themselves out of tournament contention, ACC teams keep losing, and nobody makes a movement to secure a spot in the Big Dance. This is promising for Rhode Island, but looking at its resume, it’s tough to make a case for this team right now. It’s third best win is on the road against George Mason. That’s not really something to boast about at the end of the day. Sure, this team’s looked alright in conference play, but outside of a great win over Cincinnati, this team has failed to capitalize and beat the opponents it needed to beat. A few chances remain for Rhode Island, though. The Rams have to beat VCU when it visits Kingston next weekend. It’s imperative. Also, Rhode Island is going to have to get a good win in the A-10 Tournament in order to sneak into the field as an at-large. Without winning the A-10 Tournament, Rhode Island will probably need a win over VCU or Dayton in Pittsburgh to go dancing.
Work to Do
Richmond Spiders, St. Bonaventure Bonnies
At this point, neither of these teams really has much of a shot at an at-large bid, but I do believe that either one could shock the league and win the Atlantic 10 Tournament. T.J. Cline and Jaylen Adams are good enough to lead their team to an impressive run in Pittsburgh, and given the relative success of these teams in league play, I wouldn’t count them out just yet. But obviously, it’s going to take winning the A-10 Tournament for a bid.
Better Luck Next Year
George Mason, La Salle, Davidson, Fordham, George Washington, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s, Duquesne, Saint Louis.
Sorry, guys. Better luck next year.