With the regular season over, it’s finally time for Brooklyn! Dayton, VCU, and St. Bonaventure all finished the year with 14-4 conference records and split the title as Co-Champs. Due to tiebreakers, Dayton grabs the #1 seed, VCU the #2, and St. Bonaventure #3 heading into the A-10 tournament. St. Joe’s rounds out the top four teams who all earned double byes and will not play until Friday. With that said, lets take a look at the Wednesday and Thursday matchups.
#13 Saint Louis Billikens vs. #12 George Mason Patriots
The first game of this year’s A-10 tournament will feature Saint Louis and George Mason. These two teams faced each other twice in the regular season, producing opposite results. George Mason’s hot shooting led them to a 92-79 win in the first matchup. Saint Louis, however, fought for revenge the last time out and snagged a nail-biting 79-77 overtime win. While both have suffered down seasons, they continue to show signs of potential. Sensational freshman guard Otis Livingston II has led the way for GMU all season, averaging 12 points per game. As for SLU, they’re lead by senior Ash Yacubou who’s good for 11 points and 6 rebounds a night. The winner of this game will take on #5 George Washington on Thursday.
#14 La Salle Explorers vs. #11 Duquesne Dukes
The La Salle Explorers will take on the Duquesne Dukes in Wednesday’s late night A-10 tournament game. In the one matchup these teams had during the regular season, things became quite lopsided. Four Duquesne players scored in double figures, including senior guard Derrick Colter who led the way with 27 points. Jordan Price did all he could for La Salle, putting up 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. The end results was a 87-60 Duquesne win. If the Explorers want to have any chance of winning they need someone besides Price to get things going. I mean the man can only do so much! Led by a duo of terrific guards in Mason and Colter, the Dukes posses the power to make a run and surprise a lot of people if they get hot. The winner of this game will play #6 Davidson on Thursday night.
#9 Richmond Spiders vs. #8 Fordham Rams
Thursday’s first action will start at noon on NBC Sports Network between the Richmond Spiders and the Fordham Rams. Richmond swept the season series between the two teams and hopes to pick up a third win Thursday afternoon. The Spiders used a solid offensive performance to win the first meeting 93-82. They also managed to edge the Rams 71-67 in the second matchup this season. Don’t let Richmond sweeping the regular season series fool you though. Fordham has quietly won its last four games heading into the tournament. This stretch includes solid wins against teams like Davidson, Duquesne, and Rhode Island. Thursday’s opener has the making to be a great one. The winner will take on the #1 Dayton Flyers on Friday afternoon.
#10 Massachusetts Minutemen vs. #7 Rhode Island Rams
The UMass Minutemen will take on the Rhode Island Rams Thursday evening at 6:30. These two teams met twice this year in the regular season and split the series 1-1. In their first matchup, UMass gutted out a 61-56 win in overtime. Rhode Island, however, got sweet revenge when they played again recently on March 3rd. The Rams dominated the contest, winning 68-50. Rhode Island has suffered a lot of injuries this year, but their role players continue to step up and play well. We’ll find out Thursday if they can stop Trey Davis and the Minutemen. The winner of this game will take on #2 VCU Friday evening.
Side Note: George Washington and Davidson also play on Thursday. They await the winners of Wednesday evening games. The winner of GMU/SLU vs. GW will play St. Joe’s on Friday. The winner of Duquesne/La Salle vs. Davidson will take on St. Bonaventure Friday night. Get your popcorn ready A-10 fans, it’s going to be a legendary week of tournament action!