Atlantic 10 Title race: Who’s still alive?
We’ve crossed the halfway point in the conference season, and we do not know who’s going to win the regular season title. Realistically, there are more than a few teams still alive, and given the unpredictable nature of this league, we could get a surprise this March. Here’s a look at each team’s chances from here on out.
Dayton Flyers: In the Hunt
The Flyers are probably most people’s favorites to win the league, as they’re tied at the top with VCU and still get to host the Rams in UD Arena. At 7-2 overall with some easier games remaining, the Flyers are in pretty good shape. Kenpom predicts that Dayton will finish the conference season at 14-4 and win the league outright. Remaining home games against Duquesne, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, and George Mason should be relatively easy wins for this team. Road games against Saint Louis and George Washington will more than likely go the Flyers’ way as well. Davidson proves to be a tough test on the road, but the Wildcats are definitely beatable. The toughest two remaining games are on the road against Rhode Island and at home against VCU. I love the Flyers chances at home against VCU, but Rhode Island on the road is going to be a tough battle. All in all, unless this team really slips up somewhere along the line, it’s got the easiest path to a regular season title.
VCU Rams: In the Hunt
Though it looks like Dayton’s got the easiest path, don’t count out the Rams just yet. VCU has beaten Dayton once, and if the Rams really bring it to UD Arena, they could beat them again. Tough road games remain against St. Bonaventure, Richmond, and Rhode Island as well though, which is why I’m skeptical of this team’s ability to win the league. It’s going to have to win some big games on the road if it wants to take the title. Home games against Davidson, George Mason, Saint Louis, Davidson, and Saint Joseph’s shouldn’t be too difficult. If the Rams lose more than 5 conference games overall, they definitely will not win the title this year.
Rhode Island Rams: In the Hunt
After an impressive road win over Davidson, Rhode Island is suddenly in the hunt at 7-3, and believe it or not, this team could definitely take the title. Lucky for the Rams, they get VCU and Dayton at home to finish the regular season, and if they manage to win both of those, they’ll be in really good shape. Those aren’t the only tough games for the Rams though, as they’ll have Saint Joseph’s, George Mason, and La Salle on the road as well. There’s little room for error from here on out, but this team is right in the thick of it for sure.
Richmond Spiders: In the Hunt
The Spiders are a fringe “In the Hunt” team as they still have a manageable schedule remaining where they could make some noise and go on a run. Road games against La Salle, George Mason, Fordham, and Massachusetts are all pretty much must-wins if this team wants to somehow win the league. In addition, this team will have to beat its rival VCU at home in a pivotal rematch. Then, the Spiders have home games against Davidson and George Washington which could prove tough if they’re not careful. It certainly isn’t going to be easy, but if the Spiders win their road games and down their rivals at home, they could still take the conference.
La Salle Explorers: Work to do
I’m not going to entirely take La Salle out of the equation just yet, but a recent 1 point loss on the road to Saint Joseph’s had to sting just a little bit. Regardless, the Explorers are fighting pretty hard in a relatively open Atlantic 10, and if stranger things happen, this team could somehow win the league. Though it’d probably take winning pretty much every game from here on out, La Salle doesn’t have too many hard tests remaining. Arguably, the toughest remaining games for this team are at home against Rhode Island and on the road against St. Bonaventure. Win those and take care of business elsewhere, and we might be talking about La Salle.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies: Unlikely
St. Bonaventure has a brutal schedule remaining, which is why I think it’s pretty unlikely it could go on a run and win the league. Road games against George Washington, Dayton, Davidson, and Saint Joseph’s remain. A home games against VCU will also be a huge test. Don’t count them completely out, but it would take a miracle.