It’s Brooklyn time baby!! Here’s a roundtable from our A10 Talk Staff predicting this year’s champion, a bust, and a sleeper in the A-10 Championship. The Wednesday Night Pillow Fight is just a day away!
Champion: Dayton. Duh. It’s kind of hard to pick anyone else at this point. I think Saint Louis has the best shot at downing the Flyers, and Richmond has been playing really good basketball as of late, but I can’t even pretend like I imagine anyone else takes home the league crown.
Sleeper: Saint Louis. Not much of a sleeper, as the Billikens have won their last 5 including a stomping of St. Bonaventure recently. In picking SLU here, I mean “sleeper” more in the sense that they could beat Dayton and end up making a run to the Big Dance. It helps they’d only have to play 3 times instead of 4 like last year.
Bust: VCU. It’s too easy to pick Rhode Island here. If VCU enters its first round matchup with lingering injuries, I could see an early exit to a Massachusetts team the Rams should be favorites against.
Champion: Dayton. It’s about time, and this year is the year the Flyers win the tournament. I will never pick them to win it again if they don’t bring home the trophy this year.
Sleeper: Richmond. Saint Louis is the obvious pick here, but Richmond would like nothing more than a second crack at SLU with a healthy Blake Francis. The Spiders are hot at the right time, their offense is clicking, and they have all the motivation to lock up a ticket to the big dance with them being right on the bubble.
Bust: St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies do not look like a complete team right now, and they are coming off a big loss to SLU. Assuming they win on Wednesday, George Mason plays hard, has some playmakers, and has the kind of team to shock someone. I think that team is St. Bonaventure.
Champion: Richmond. The Spiders will find their way into the championship game against the Dayton Flyers on Sunday afternoon. Sure, Dayton will be the favorite, but Richmond will have more to play for. Moreover, the Flyers only beat the Spiders by 8 in Richmond. Gilyard and Golden will lead the way as Chris Mooney will be dancing for the first time since 2011.
Sleeper: Saint Louis. The Billikens have won five games in a row, and their defense has been nothing short of spectacular during that span. Goodwin and French have been incredible on the glass too. The Bills could give Dayton some fits on Saturday afternoon in the A-10 semis, or the Arch Baron Cup Part III. I would love to see a rematch like the first time these two teams met this season where Dayton prevailed in overtime.
Bust: St. Bonaventure. Now this is coming from a huge St. Bonaventure fan and writer, but I have zero confidence in this team. They choked away a double-bye by losing three of their last four to finish the season. Bona laid an egg in Philly versus La Salle, and then they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn at Saint Louis to close out the year. Not sure what has gotten into them lately, but the prospects of Bona winning three of four in Brooklyn are slim. At least the Bonnies are young. They will be back next year.
Champion: Duquesne. If Duquesne starts hitting shots, they can be incredibly dangerous. Keith Dambrot has built a great culture, and his team plays with passion. Last year the 6 seed won the tournament, and I have a feeling the same thing is set to occur this season.
Champion: Dayton. Going to go out on a limb and say the best conference team since 2004 St. Joe’s and maybe ever is the prohibitive favorite here.
Sleeper: Duquesne. There’s nothing too spectacular about the Dukes’ statistical resume, but there is one very interesting tidbit: according to Bart Torvik, they offensive efficiency is 13th in the country against top 50 defenses. There’s more than enough talent here to get hot for one weekend.
Bust: Rhode Island. Simply put, Rhody has not been the same team that came into Dayton riding high on February 11th. They have been the 177th ranked team in the country according to Torvik since that night. The offense, particularly, has completely flatlined. They are 239th in the country since February 11th. Playing well this weekend would buck a trend that has been over a month in the making.