Big winners: Flyers win at buzzer plus other A-10 nuggets
Scott tip-in wins it for Flyers
Dayton picked up a big non-conference win today as Devon Scott tipped in a failed Scoochie Smith layup attempt with just under two seconds to play to give the Flyers a 55-53 win in Puerto Rico. UD will likely take on reigning national champ, UConn, tomorrow in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off semifinal.
Rebuilding in different directions
One of the big question marks coming into this season was what to make of the rebuilt versions of last season’s regular season and conference tournament champs, Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s. While early returns suggest the Hawks (1-2) may be in huge trouble after last night’s 52-point loss at Gonzaga (the worst loss in SJU history), the Billikens have quietly pulled off two solid wins against Missouri Valley teams, most recently at Indiana State (who somehow picked up a preseason first place vote over Wichita State in the MVC), 69-56. SLU’s bench did most of the heavy lifting in the Billikens most recent win while their starters carried the load against Southern Illinois. Neither win is a huge star on a resume, but they sure as heck beat two losses. SLU plays to sub-230 teams in their next two and could be staring down a 4-0 start before taking on Mississippi State.
Just one game, but still…
He’s only one game into his 2014-15 season but it’s still nice to see Duquesne’s Derrick Colter leading the conference’s scoring race at 26 “ppg”. Colter battled cancer this summer, taking on non-Hodgkins lymphoma and bouncing back into this season without skipping a beat. Colter’s 26 points came in 23 minutes against DII Bluefield St. He was 8-9 from the field including 7-8 from distance.
Big dogs eating
Speaking of stats, VCU’s Treveon Graham and UMass’ Cady Lalanne have put on their big boy pants to start the season, each averaging healthy double-doubles though just a handful of games. Graham has posted an 18.5-ppg, 10.5-rpg double-double over his two games while Lalanne checks in at 16.3 and 12 over three games. Lalanne has also posted a ho-hum 4.3 blocks per game average, tops in the Atlantic 10.
Best wins/Worst losses
Wins over Kenpom top-100: VCU over Tennessee (No.72), Dayton over Texas A&M (No.67)
Losses against Kenpom sub-200: George Mason to Cornell (No.288), Saint Joseph’s to Fairleigh Dickinson (No.303)
Nine Atlantic 10 teams are undefeated at the time of this writing with an overall conference record of 23-6.
Hot seat for Hewitt
George Mason has started the season with a average margin of victory over two Ivy League teams (neither of which was preseason top pick, Harvard) of -2.5. The Patriots lost their home opener to a Cornell team coming off a 2-26 season then just snuck by Princeton 63-60 in Fairfax. Mason is staring down 2-3 losses in Puerto Rico then take on kenpom top-100s in four of their six following games prior to conference play. Things could get ugly on MasonHoops.com real quick. Credit to Hewitt however, at least he scheduled some real comp whereas Fordham’s Tom Pecora has four sub-300 teams remaining before tipping up A-10 play against VCU (or is that a credit to Pecora having the intelligence to schedule some hopeful wins for his fanbase?).
Rich get richer
We didn’t report it on here originally but VCU recently inked LOIs from two Rivals top-150 players including ESPN 2015 No.58, Tevin Mack, who became the second ESPN top-60 player to choose VCU over UConn in as many seasons. Mack gives VCU two ESPN top-100s for that class which started off with No.79, Kenny Williams. The worldwide leader ranks the Rams class No.25 nationally at the moment and will give VCU’s 2015-16 team seven top-100 players including two top-60s in next year’s Atlantic 10, none of which are named JeQuan Lewis or Mo Alie-Cox. VCU appears stacked for years to come.