Each team’s path to a double bye in Pittsburgh at the halfway point
It’s incredibly hard to win four games in four days. In this century, only two teams (Xavier in ’06 and VCU in ’15) have been able to win without finishing the regular season in the top four. So, the pressure for any team vying for an A-10 tournament championship to finish in the top four and vault straight to the quarterfinals is immense. As most teams have now played either 8 or 9 games, and the standings begin to take shape, it’s time to take a look at how each team can find their way to a double bye in Pittsburgh this March.
Dayton (7-2) Future Opponent W% (.481)
Remaining Home Games-Duquesne, Saint Joseph’s , St. Bonaventure, George Mason, VCU
Remaining Away Games- URI, Saint Louis, Davidson, GW
VCU (6-2) Future Opponent W% (.568)
Remaining Home Games-Richmond, Davidson, St. Joseph’s, Saint Louis, George Mason
Remaining Away Games-St. Bonaventure, GW, Richmond, URI, Dayton
For the sake of the league, Dayton and VCU gaining some separation from the rest of the field would be best. Dayton should win its next two games (Duquesne, and SJU), keeping them in perfect position to win the regular season title. VCU has never finished lower than fourth since entering the league in 2011, and has rebounded nicely from a disappointing loss to Fordham. Both these teams know how to win, and should have no problem maintaining their rightful spot in the top four at seasons end.
Richmond (7-2) Future Opponent W% (.447)
Remaining Home Games-GW, VCU, Davidson, Saint Louis
Remaining Away Games-VCU, La Salle, GMU, UMass
Rhode Island (6-3) Future Opponent W% (.512)
Remaining Home Games-Dayton, Fordham, VCU, Davidson
Remaining Away Games-Davidson, UMass, George Mason, La Salle, St Joseph’s
The journey to this point in the season for both of these teams has been entirely different. The Rams, a conference favorite and AP top 25 team at the beginning of the season, came into last weekend needing a win just to keep any NCAA at-large hopes alive. Meanwhile, Richmond slid under the radar, before firing out to a 7-2 start. It would be a huge disappointment to Rhody (and their fans) if this season ended without a tournament bid. Clawing back towards that goal started yesterday with a win against GW, and a win in their next two games (Davidson and UMass) might even keep them in the conversation for the league title. Regardless, if they play up to their potential, they should find themselves in the top four. Richmond can really prove themselves and solidify their place in the top of the league this week, by picking up a HUGE rivalry win at VCU.
Wouldn’t Surprise Me
La Salle (5-3) Future Opponent W%(.420)
Remaining Home Games-UMass, Richmond, St Joseph’s, URI
Remaining Away Games-George Mason, Fordham, St. Bonaventure, UMass, Saint Louis, Fordham
St. Bonaventure (5-3) Future Opponent W% (.420)
Remaining Home Games-VCU,Saint Louis, La Salle, Duquesne, UMass
Remaining Away Games-Duquesne, GW, Dayton, St Joseph’s, Davidson
With games remaining against Saint Louis, and UMass, and two against Duquesne, there is still a path to a top four finish for the Bonnies. However, they have yet to have a win against a good team this season. They haven’t even come close to beating a top tier A-10 team, losing by double digits to Richmond, Dayton, and URI. Their Defense is suspect. And their offense is mostly one dimensional. But, Jay Adams and Matt Mobley are enough to keep them in the conversation for now. The story has very similar for La Salle, who relies mostly on Jordan Price and B.J. Johnson for their scoring, and has been hit-or-miss all season. The Explorers have lost three in a row (one non-conference to UPenn), and will need to get hot again this week against UMass and George Mason to have any chance at the top 4.
Needs Some Help
Davidson (5-4) Remaining W% (.595)
Remaining Home Games-URI, George Mason, GW, Dayton, St. Bonaventure
Remaining Away Games- VCU, UMass, Richmond, URI
George Mason (4-4) Future Opponent W%(.523)
Remaining Home Games-La Salle, Fordham, Richmond, URI, Duquesne
Remaining Away Games-Saint Louis, Davidson, Dayton, GW, VCU
Davidson has rebounded nicely from an atrocious 1-3 start. They rely almost exclusively on Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge for scoring (combined 44 ppg) and will need them to play exceedingly well down the stretch to pass the teams ahead of them. They’ll have a chance to make up some more ground this week against Rhode Island. George Mason has been a huge surprise on the upside this year. In only his second season, Dave Paulsen has the Patriots poised to finish .500 or better for the first time since joining the league. Even better, GMU is still extremely young, and will only improve heading into next season. But if they eye something better, like a top 4 finish, they will need to start stringing wins together, as they have yet to win (or lose) two in a row in conference play.The loser of the Davidson vs. Mason game next week might as well prepare for a Thursday tournament game.
Needs a Miracle
George Washington (4-5) Remaining W% (.547)
Remaining Home Games-VCU, St. Bonaventure, UMass, George Mason, Dayton
Remaining Away Games- Richmond, Davidson, Duquesne, Fordham
Only being down two games from 4th place is not so bad. But having to pass five teams, and with upcoming games against Richmond, and VCU, there’s not much hope this year for the Colonials finishing in the top 4. However, their young team has played better as of late, rattling off three wins in a row to stay in the mix before losing to Rhody. Richmond at the end of this week will be make or break for GW if they have any hope of climbing the standings.
Next year in Washington?
St. Joseph’s (3-6) Future Opponent W% (.487)
Remaining Home Games-Fordham, UMass, St. Bonaventure, URI
Remaining Away Games-Dayton, VCU, La Salle, Saint Louis, Duquesne
Fordham (3-6) Future Opponent W% (.436)
Remaining Home Games-La Salle, Saint Louis, Richmond, GW
Remaining Away Games-St Joseph’s, URI, Duquesne, La Salle
UMass (2-7) Future Opponent W% (.436)
Remaining Home Games-URI, Davidson, La Salle, Richmond
Remaining Away Games-La Salle, St Joseph’s, Duquesne, GW, St. Bonaventure
Duquesne (2-7) Future Opponent W% (.449)
Remaining Home Games-St. Bonaventure, UMass, GW, Fordham, St Joseph’s
Remaining Away Games-Dayton, Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure, George Mason
Saint Louis (2-7) Future Opponent W% (.494)
Remaining Home Games-George Mason, Duquesne, Dayton, St. Joseph’s, La Salle
Remaining Away Games-St. Bonaventure, Fordham, VCU, Richmond
None of these teams have any chance of making the top four this year, and most would be lucky to avoid playing their first tournament game on Wednesday. St Joseph’s is still recovering from the losses of Bembry, Miles, and Newkirk (to injury). UMass is still waiting on their young players to develop, and struggles from the poor coaching of Derek Kellogg. Better times are on the way for St. Louis, who has incredible recruiting classes on the way in 2017 and 2018. The future is less clear for Fordham and Duquesne who have both been down for a long while, and do not appear to have the talent on their roster, or coming in, to change things in the near future.