If you’re like me, particularly if you are a fan of George Washington and Duquesne, your team has already been eliminated from the Atlantic 10 Tournament, and has no chance of making the NCAA Tournament. At least, for the men that is. The women are an entirely different story. Both GW and Duquesne are currently projected to make the Women’s NCAA Tournament as 8-seeds, while Saint Bonaventure and Saint Louis are currently sitting right at the very edge of the bubble, but both could still make it.
The Atlantic 10 is quickly gaining traction on the national stage, and is improving every year. Last season, five teams were invited to postseason tournaments, as GW and Dayton went to the NCAA Tournament, while Duquesne, Fordham and Richmond played in the WNIT. Four of those five won at least one game in their respective tournament, headlined by Dayton’s run the to Elite 8, taking down Iowa State, Kentucky and Louisville, before falling to the eventual National Champion, Connecticut.
But it’s not just the teams that have made national headlines, the players have too. Dayton’s Ally Malott and Andrea Hoover were drafted into the WNBA, chosen 8th and 31st overall respectively. In addition to the accomplishments of the Flyers, George Washington’s Jonquel Jones was on several watch-lists for national awards. This year promises to be just as impressive for A10 schools, as Jones has been selected as a finalist for many prestigious awards again, and is projected to be a top-5 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft.
Still not sold on women’s basketball? Here’s the case for the Atlantic 10’s four teams, and why you should hop on their bandwagon.
#1 George Washington Colonials (26-6, 13-3 A10)
The Atlantic 10 Champion Colonials are making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, after defeating Duquesne 63-60 in the A10 Finals last Sunday in Richmond, VA. Coach Jonathan Tsipis is looking to take the next step with the program this year, as GW looks for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2007, when they made the Sweet 16. The Colonials are lead by Senior Jonquel Jones, who led the country in rebounding, prior to her shoulder injury that kept her out for 10 games. As a team, GW ranks fourth nationally in rebounding margin and 31st in shots blocked. Jonquel Jones is arguably one of-if not the best player to ever come through Foggy Bottom. Oh yeah, and she can dunk:
— GW Women’s Basketball (@GW_WBB) March 6, 2016
With the team playing the best it has all season, Jones and company have GW fans dreaming of the Final Four, or the second weekend at least.
#2 Duquesne Dukes (27-5, 13-3 A10)
The Dukes currently have the best record of any Atlantic 10 team, for either the men or women. Duquesne will be looking to make their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, after reaching the Atlantic 10 Finals, before falling to GW. The Dukes are led by A10 Co-Player of the Year April Robinson, who averages 14.9 PPG, as well as Deva’Nyar Workman who averages 13.9 PPG. The duo have led Duquesne to its best record in school history, and appear to be only moving up from here. Don’t be surprised to hear more from this team come next weekend.
#3 Saint Bonaventure Bonnies (23-7, 12-4 A10)
The Bonnies have the better résumé between the two A10 bubble teams. The Bonnies have the head-to-head win over the Billikens, as well as wins over GW and Duquesne. While their non-conference schedule was underwhelming, they did pick up nice wins over Georgetown, James Madison and Toledo. If Saint Bonaventure does get into the NCAA Tournament, they’re likely to be a 12-seed, and will have a difficult road as they’ll try to advance.
#4 Saint Louis Billikens (24-7, 13-3 A10)
Saint Louis features the other Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Year, Jackie Kemph, who unlike her counterpart from Duquesne, is just a freshman. The Billikens picked up their best non-conference win against Memphis, but don’t really have much to show otherwise. Their only good conference win was against Duquesne, and they lost the head-to-head match up against Saint Bonaventure as well. While it is still very possible that Saint Louis could sneak in, they are probably heading to the WNIT.
So go and hop on the bandwagon of one of these teams this March! Who knows how far this year’s “Dayton” can go!
Featured Image Courtesy of Mitchell Leff and the Atlantic 10.