It might be early in the year, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead to March. That’s right, weekly Atlantic 10 bracketology is back baby! So while a ton of basketball remains to be played, lets take a look at where A-10 teams currently stand in their quest to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Who’s on Track
Saint Louis (4-0), Davidson (4-1), Dayton (3-0), VCU (4-0), Duquesne (3-0)
While St. Louis, Dayton, VCU, and Duquesne are all undefeated at the moment, St. Louis and VCU are the only two teams with a quality win at this point in the season. The Billikens recently went on the road and defeated Seton Hall. While VCU downed Temple on Monday night. Hopefully both of those wins hold and and continue to look like quality wins as the season progresses.
As for Davidson, the Wildcats are yet to pick up a quality win. While they did beat Wichita State last week, the Shockers are not expected to be as good as usual this year. Davidson’s lone loss came against the nationally ranked Purdue Boilermakers. While all five of these teams are off to nice starts, we’ll learn more about their NCAA tournament potential in the coming week. Dayton, particularly, is headed out to face a loaded field at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Who Still Has a Chance
Rhode Island (2-1), Saint Joseph’s (3-2), UMass (3-2), Fordham (4-1),
Although all of these teams have taken a hit, the season is extremely young. Despite the two losses for Saint Joseph’s their offense has looked very impressive thus far. Picking up blowout wins over Old Dominion and Wake Forest, the Hawks have shown they can be deadly when they get hot. Their two losses came to very good UCF and West Virginia teams, so St. Joseph’s tournament hopes certainly remain alive. When it comes to Rhode Island, the Rams best win thus far came against Harvard and their only loss was to a solid College of Charleston team. With upcoming games against Providence and West Virginia, Rhode Island needs to pick up a quality win or two and avoid potential bad losses.
UMass is clearly off to a less than stellar start, but, with a talent they have, its tough to rule out the Minutemen this early in the season. Last week UMass suffered a brutal loss to Howard. The Minutemen also dropped their game before that against Harvard. If UMass wants to have any hopes of an at-large bid entering A-10 play, the Minutemen need to play nearly perfect in their remaining non-conference slate. They cannot afford any more bad losses. As for Fordham, I don’t think anyone is picking the Rams to actually contend for a tournament berth. That said, they’re off to a nice start and still have a chance if they miraculously keep it up.
Down to Their Last Life
St. Bonaventure (1-3), George Mason (1-3), Richmond (2-2)
What on earth has happened to George Mason so far? Virtually everyone picked them to finish at least in the top four of the A-10 this year and seriously content for an at-large bid. While they still could bounce back and play well in A-10 play, their NCAA tournament hopes are hanging on by a mere thread. This was supposed to be “Mason’s year”, but with three losses already (two of them quite bad), the Patriots virtually need to win out in non-conference play. Thankfully, with games against Cincinnati and nationally ranked Kansas State, George Mason still has a chance to pick up quality wins and try to make up for the bad losses. As for St. Bonaventure, the Bonnies are playing about as expected. They dropped games to Bucknell and Niagara, but still face AP top 25 teams Buffalo and Syracuse later this year. Richmond and especially St. Bonaventure seemingly need a miracle to make the tournament, as the Spiders and Bonnies are down to their final lives as well.
George Washington (0-5), La Salle (0-4)
You can go ahead and stick a fork in both George Washington and La Salle. Neither have won a game yet and both look absolutely hopeless. Better luck next year, guys.