It seems every year, the Atlantic 10 is good for at least one obvious favorite come conference tournament time. This year’s team is without a doubt Rhode Island, though with their win Friday and recent winning streak, St. Bonaventure is trying to make a case for themselves as well. One would think that being one of the top two seeds would translate directly into conference tournament success, but surprisingly, that has not been the case in recent years. Three of the last four Atlantic 10 Tournament Champions have been the four-seed and have been possible bid-stealers in the NCAA Tournament. With that said, let’s take a look at this year’s teams in contention for the last double-bye (Note: Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and Davidson are not included here, as they have likely already secured the top three seeds).
Saint Louis (8-6)
Remaining Schedule: at Dayton, vs George Washington, at Duquesne. & vs St. Bonaventure.
Their Path to the Bye: The Billikens by far have the best shot at securing the four-seed in DC. They currently sit alone in fourth place and have tie-breaking wins over Saint Joseph’s and Richmond. That said, their remaining schedule is almost hands-down the most difficult of the four teams still in contention. There are certainly no guarantees though, as they only have a one-game lead on the field with four games to go.
Remaining Schedule: at UMass, vs St. Bonaventure, vs George Mason, & at Fordham.
Their Path to the Bye: The Rams currently sit at a crossroads, coming off a 24-point shellacking at the hands of George Washington on Saturday. With four games left, VCU is going to really have to dig deep to try to make a run in March. Still, I believe this team is better then they have played thus far in conference play, so you certainly cannot count the Rams out yet. They have the head-to-head win over Saint Louis, so should the Rams win out, they easily could find themselves in fourth come tournament time.
Saint Joseph’s (7-7)
Remaining Schedule: vs George Mason, at Richmond, at Rhode Island, & vs La Salle.
Their Path to the Bye: After a long losing streak, the Hawks have seemingly righted the ships with three consecutive wins to put them right back in the hunt. Should SJU win their final four remaining games, they could find themselves with a double-bye, but they would likely need some help. They lack the tie-breaker against Saint Louis and have yet to face Richmond. They do at least have the head-to-head win over VCU, but like I said earlier, they would likely need some help to get to the top-four.
Remaining Schedule: at George Washington, vs Saint Joseph’s, vs UMass, & at George Mason.
Their Path to the Bye: The Spiders have had quite an up-and-down year, but currently are on a three-game losing skid at the worst possible time. They had control of their own destiny just a week ago, but now are looking like a real long-shot to get a double-bye in Washington DC. They don’t have the tie-breaker over Saint Louis, and have yet to play Saint Joseph’s this season. Richmond does at least have the tie-breaking win over VCU though. Still, the Spiders are going to need a lot to go in their favor down the stretch of the regular season to have a shot.