Welcome to A10Talk’s series of Atlantic 10 Bracketology. Throughout the year we’ll be providing updates on where teams stand in regards to making the NCAA Tournament. Lets take a look at this week’s edition.
Saint Louis (8-4)
Despite getting hammered by No. 11 Florida State last week, the Saint Louis Billikens remain on track to make this year’s NCAA tournament. With no true bad losses and quality wins over Seton Hall, Butler, and Oregon State, the Billikens have put together a solid non-conference resume. While Saint Louis did miss some opportunities (close losses to Pittsburgh, SIU, and nationally ranked Houston) the Billikens did enough in the non-conference to set themselves up for a run at the tournament. In a bad year for the A-10, though, Saint Louis’ main focus must shift to avoiding bad losses come conference play. The Billikens’ final non-conference game is on December 30th as they battle Appalachian State.
On The Bubble
With no bad losses, its tough to rule out a 9-3 Davidson team’s at-large chances. That said, the Wildcats are yet to pick up a quality win and missed out on both of their most recent chances. Playing without star guard Kellan Grady, Davidson dropped back to back close games against Temple and Wake Forest before bouncing back against Central Pennsylvania. The Wildcats’ toughest game of the season comes this Saturday as they travel to North Carolina for a showdown with the Tar Heels. If Davidson can somehow find a way to win, the Wildcats will certainly jump off the bubble and find themselves on track to make the NCAA tournament.
Duquesne (9-3), VCU (8-4)
Here’s the deal for Duquesne: the Dukes have no bad losses but no quality wins. With only one non-conference game remaining against NJIT, Duquesne will enter A-10 play without a signature victory. While a 9-3 record looks nice, the Dukes must play quite impressively over the entirety of the conference slate to have an at-large shot. If Duquesne can pick up wins over teams like Davidson and Saint Louis while avoiding bad losses, the Dukes could climb back towards the bubble.
Taking care of business against Wichita State last week, the VCU Rams currently sit at 8-4 overall. With no horrendous losses and quality wins over Temple and at Texas, VCU has put together a nice non-conference resume. That said, the Rams did drop a couple very winnable games against Old Dominion and versus Charleston. Typically a record like this would have VCU closer to the bubble, but in a down year for the A-10 it will be tough to gain any ground in conference play. The Rams need to take things one game at a time and focus on winning their final non-conference game against Rider.
Better Luck Next Year
Fordham (9-3), Rhode Island (6-4), Dayton (7-5), UMass (7-5), Saint Joseph’s (6-5), George Mason (6-6), Richmond (5-7), Saint Bonaventure (4-8), George Washington (3-8), La Salle (2-10)
While Fordham’s 9-3 record might look surprisingly impressive at first glance, a lack of quality wins and three brutal losses prevent the Rams from having a realistic tournament shot. A team like Dayton, on the other hand, has no bad losses and a quality win over Butler. That said, the Flyers missed too many opportunities in the non-conference. Baring a 15-3 run in conference play or A-10 tournament championship, Dayton will not be making the NCAA tournament this year.
While Rhode Island, UMass, and Saint Joseph’s have all shown flashes of potential this year, inconsistency has dashed their at-large chances. Nevertheless, these three teams each have talent to be reckoned with in A-10 play.
Also, La Salle finally won a game. Two actually.