Last year at this time, each teams chance’s of a double bye looked much different. Dayton and VCU were locks, Rhode Island had already lost three times, and Duquesne was mired at the bottom of the league. Since the A10 will only get 1 at-large bid this season, and has been full of surprises, the conference tournament will have more teams with a chance to make a run than ever before. In a year when 10-6 may be enough to finish in the top 4, there are still 9 teams with a chance to capture the elusive double-bye.
Rhode Island (10-0)
No surprise here, Rhode Island is undoubtedly the best team in the conference and will win the A10 regular season championship. Regardless of their remaining schedule, a four game lead on the second place team at this point in the season means they can essentially cruise to a double-bye and the number one overall seed.
VCU is tied for second as of today, but a huge matchup with Rhody at home on Friday night awaits. They’ve played a very easy schedule thus far, with their best win being at home against Duquesne. We’ll learn a lot about VCU in the next week; After the Rhody game they head to Richmond for a chance to avenge their embarrassing loss from a few weeks ago.
Davidson has the most difficult schedule remaining. They play Rhody twice and get the Bonnies, VCU, and Duquesne on the road. They might be 6-3 now, but going 5-4 or better out will be difficult given that brutal schedule. After all, not every team is going to roll over the way Fordham and La Salle have to them.
After winning only two non conference games this year, the Spiders have already won six in the first half of the conference season, and are riding a five game win streak into their home matchup against struggling George Mason. The turnaround has been remarkable and has included wins over some of the conferences best this season (VCU, Davidson, and Duquesne). Maybe they’re learning how to win, maybe they weren’t as bad as we thought, or maybe it’s just dumb-luck, but no matter the case, the Spiders have a real chance at a double-bye.
What a job Dambrot has done in less than a season at Duquesne. I was highly critical of their weak non-conference schedule, but it seems to have worked out exactly the way they wanted. They showed signs of a good young team last weekend against Rhode Island, and could’ve and would’ve won that game with experienced players on the floor. They have two left against the Bonnies, and one against Davidson, but the rest of their schedule is relatively mild. The Dukes are still a year or two away from being ready to compete at a higher level, but in the A10 this year, a top-4 finish is not out of the question. #Trustthedambrotcess
St. Bonaventure (5-4)
I’m not sure what surprises me more, Richmond being 6-3, or the Bonnies being 5-4. After the Bonnies pummeled Umass in the A10 opener, I would’ve been absolutely shocked if the Bonnies finished the season with more than four losses. Well…that’s college basketball, and this is the situation the Bonnies are in. The good news is that their schedule has softened, and if they play to their potential, a seven game winning streak headed into the Rhode Island game is not out of the question.
Saint Louis (5-5)
SLU has finally started playing the way many people thought they could at the beginning of the season. They’ve won four out of their last 5, and the one loss was by one point in overtime to VCU. This is a young team that should only progress as the season continues and they keep racking up wins. A home matchup with Fordham should be a pretty darn easy path to picking up their sixth straight win.
Lose to Duquesne, then pound the Bonnies. Lose to Umass at home, then beat Richmond and embarrass VCU. This Dayton team has been absurdly inconsistent this season. A combination of a new coach, young players, and a loss of experience in the backcourt has really added instability to a team that has been rock-solid for the past six seasons. They have the capability of beating any team in the conference (eh maybe not Rhody) on any given night. But unfortunately for the Flyers, they can also lose to anyone, anywhere, and for that reason, it’s hard to see (but not impossible to see) them passing the teams ahead of them.
St. Joseph’s (4-5)
St. Joseph’s has lost their last two games by a combined total of just 4 points. A few plays here or there and they could be sitting at 6-3 and in second place. That wasn’t the case though, and now they’ll have some ground to makeup to put themselves back in the race. Luckily, their schedule isn’t too tough, as they get games against Umass, George Mason, Fordham, and La Salle. It’s seemed like the Hawks have had terrible luck for the past two seasons. Maybe a change of fate can boost them into the top tier of the A10.
George Mason (3-6), La Salle (3-6), Umass (3-7), George Washington (2-7), Fordham (2-7)
It’s not that these teams can’t get a double bye. A 5, or 6 game winning streak would be enough to put anyone back in the race this year. But based on what they’ve done thus far, do really think anyone of these teams is capable of a big winning streak? Stranger things have happened in this conference, but not much stranger.