We’re two games in, I know, but imagine you are one of the four winless teams in the conference and are heading to Rose Hill for a tricky game against Fordham (10-3) before returning home for back-to-back contests against VCU and Davidson, then have to hit the road again for a quick two-game roadie at St. Bonaventure and George Washington. Sounds daunting, no?
That is the treacherous path Chris Mooney and his Richmond Spiders must navigate over their next six games, with a home tip against La Salle thrown in for a bit of a rest.
The Spiders had high expectations after a non-conference schedule that included wins against the likes of Northern Iowa, California, ODU and Wake Forest, but after dropping their first two games including their A-10 home-opener against Saint Joseph’s, find themselves playing catchup early in conference play.
They have the talent and the offense to scare just about any team, but can Richmond’s defense come around sooner rather than later or will it be another disappointing finish for Spider fans under Chris Mooney who last made an NCAA tournament appearance in 2011?
LAST MAN STANDING
On the flip side of Richmond’s tough start we are already down to just four teams at 2-0: Dayton, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and VCU. No huge surprises there due to fairly winnable conference schedules up to this point with the biggest win of the group perhaps coming from VCU at Saint Joseph’s. Rhody owns a nice A-10 home win over Richmond while Bona held serve in Olean against Davidson — they won AT Davidson last season thanks to the heroics of Marcus Posley. The Flyers were tested at Duquesne but shouldn’t see their schedule get real until next week when they host both GW and Davidson.
So with that said, who’s the last A-10 team to drop a game?
St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island play Wednesday so we’ll be down to three undefeated A-10 teams by that point. The following week Bona hosts Dayton and travels to VCU. That won’t be easy. Rhody travels to Saint Joseph’s this Sunday so could suffer their first A-10 loss before they even get to the Bona game. If they survive both they’ll have a tough Jan 16 test at George Washington.
VCU will look to avoid another SLU trap after the Billikens surprise home win over GW. If the Rams avoid the Chaifetz L they’ll host Fordham before traveling across town to Richmond. The Spiders will no doubt be hungry for a win but will they be the first team to trip up the Rams?
I’ll put my money on Dayton as the last team to lose and expect the conference to play catchup to Dayton the entire season thanks to the Flyer’s talent, coaching, home court and favorable schedule.
CHARTOUNY MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT FOR NEUBAUER
No freshman has really had the impact on his team that’s Fordham’s Joseph Chartouny has prior to missing the last two games for the Rams. The Canadian baller currently leads the Atlantic 10 in both assists per game (5.2) and steals per game (2.5) while chipping in 9.6 points and an impressive 6.1 rebounds in his 27.3 minutes per game. For comparative purposes, VCU great, Briante Weber, posted 9.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.5 steals in 28.9 minutes his junior season at VCU. Let that sink in. Chartouny is posting Weber-like numbers, if not better in some areas, as just a freshman. Fordham is most certainly on the rise under new head coach Jeff Neubauer and Chartouny is a major reason why.