Saturday, January 18th was an interesting day in the A-10. 12 of the conference’s 14 teams hit the floor, and as always, this jam-packed Saturday raised some questions and answered others.
As I sit here and wait for my beloved New England Patriots’ 916th AFC Championship appearance of my short lifetime, I leave you with four random thoughts about yesterday’s A-10 action.
Should we worry about Rhode Island?
Yes. Seven days ago, five A-10 teams had a realistic chance at earning NCAA tourney bids – VCU, Dayton, GW, Davidson, and Rhode Island. Yesterday’s 60-56 loss at UMass threw a serious wrench in the Rams’ tourney plans. A-10 road games are never easy. But if you want to make the tournament, you need to take care of business against the A-10’s “Middle Class”. The Rams only have a few opportunities left to gain signature wins: vs George Washington, vs Davidson, and at Dayton. Rhody is not out of the NCAA conversation, but they cannot afford to lose anymore games to weaker opponents.
Should we worry about Davidson?
I don’t know. Never mind 26 points, who had Davidson losing by double-digits to Richmond? Davidson’s weak non-conference SOS has made it difficult to gauge how good they truly are. Before the Richmond game, the Wildcats held their own in the new conference. To me, their convincing road win at UMass and close loss at VCU validated them as truly good enough to compete with the top of the conference. But then Saturday happened. The Fighting McKillops are certainly in better shape than Rhody for an NCAA bid, but it will be interesting to see how both teams respond in the near future.
Richmond on a Roll
What a week for the Spiders. On Thursday night, they narrowly lose at George Washington in double OT. Then, less than 48 hours later, Richmond demolishes Davidson. You can’t play much better Richmond did on Saturday. They shot the lights out from inside and out. They only committed six turnovers. They held Jack Gibbs to just seven points. Gold stars for everyone.
Prior to the GW game, the Spiders ousted both George Mason and St. Bonaventure by double-digits. Richmond has a full week of rest, which they probably don’t even want, before traveling to Dayton. And if Richmond can be the team that finally exploits Dayton’s lack of size, returning to the Old Dominion with a ‘W’ certainly is possible. If Richmond knocks off the Flyers, should we put them in the NCAA tournament conversation?
A Tale of Two Spiders
Over the last few years, has any team in the nation played as well at home and as poorly on the road as Richmond? In Atlantic 10 games, since the start of the 2011-2012 season Richmond is 21-6 at home, and 5-21 on the road. How is that even possible? I mean, the Robins Center isn’t exactly Cameron Indoor.
This raises all types of questions. During this decade, have we been overrating the Spiders, or not giving them enough credit? Does Richmond eat when they go on road trips? Does the Robins Center waterboy put laxatives in the road teams‘ Gatorade bottles? This year is no exception. Hindsight is 20-20, but perhaps if Richmond didn’t lose AT James Madison, we’re talking about the A-10 being a six-bid conference again.