After two big wins, Davidson looks like a frontrunner in the Atlantic 10

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The Wildcats have much left to prove, but after two dominating wins, this team’s climbing the ladder — and fast. Davidson has ascended from 86 to 68 in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings in just two games. It’s done so by absolutely beating up the first two opponents to visit Belk Arena: Charleston Southern and UNC Wilmington.

The former got annihilated from behind the arc as the Wildcats poured in 26 three pointers, 2 shy of an NCAA record. Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Peyton Aldridge, and Kellan Grady all made enormous impacts, helping the Wildcats secure an easy 110-62 win to start the season.

On Tuesday night, the Wildcats stayed red-hot from the floor, putting up 50 points in the first half (26 of which coming from Aldridge) and essentially running the Seahawks out of the building. This is no pushover UNC Wilmington team either. The Seahawks went to the NCAA Tournament last year, and though they lost key pieces, there’s a solid chance that C.B. McGrath’s team makes it back to the Big Dance this season.

Peyton Aldridge had a deadly 37 points, and Kellan Grady added 24 of his own. The Wildcats could not be slowed down in their first two contests. But now, the real tests begin.

Davidson did not go easy on itself in scheduling this year’s non-conference slate. Props to Bob McKillop in that regard. Notably, Davidson faces off with Nevada next Tuesday in what will be a very telling game. How good is this Davidson team? Should the Wildcats manage to stay hot and take down the Wolf Pack on the road, we’ll have to start thinking about this squad as a serious NCAA Tournament contender.

The Rhode Island Rams, preseason favorites to win the A-10, went into Reno and lost a close battle this past week. Davidson has the same opportunity which will give us a direct comparison between the conference favorites and the up-and-coming Wildcats. Though it may not sound like a daunting opponent, Nevada is a very daunting team, especially at home, and pulling the road upset would be a huge resume-builder.

But regardless of what happens next week, it’s safe to say that Davidson looks like one of the frontrunners in the A-10. I’m not trying to jump the gun because this team has not been adequately tested yet. However, there are plenty of impressive statistics regarding this team through 2 games, and it’s clear that sense last season, Davidson looks like it’s improved in a number of facets.

Turnovers

Any team that Bob McKillop’s coached has always been good at limiting giveaways. This year’s squad has by all means been no exception. Through 2 games, Davidson has given it away just 7 times, and it leads the nation with a mere 4.8% turnover percentage. That’s incredibly efficient, especially when you look at Davidson’s 70.3% assists-to-field goals made ratio which ranks 24th nationally at the moment.

And how about this stat: Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady have a combined 22 assists to 0 turnover in the first two contests. That’s absolutely incredible for a backcourt. You can’t ask for anything more.

Three Pointers

Not only do the Wildcats have 39 three pointers through 2 games, but they’re also nailing 45.3% of their attempts as a team. Gudmundsson, Aldridge, and Grady have all drained 8 attempts this season. Davidson leads the nation right now in 3PA/FGA as more than 60% of its shots have come from long range. The “great equalizer” has done more than equalize for Davidson — the Wildcats are averaging 109 points per game.

Offensive Rebounding

This is a statistic that Davidson ranked 296th in nationally last season. Through the first two games, the Wildcats have looked pretty solid on the offensive glass despite having few misses to clean up. This is all without Nathan Ekwu as well, who, if healthy, could be Davidson’s most lethal force on the boards. The Wildcats should continue to utilize their bigs in the post, as they have plenty of three point shooting threats on the wing. If the Wildcats become an above-average team on the boards, then you better watch out this season.

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About Author

Grant Labedz is a college basketball superfan who loves the entire sport but definitely has favorites in the A-10 and the Big Ten. He has written for SB Nation's BT Powerhouse (Big Ten Basketball) and The Champaign Room (Illinois Basketball). He also co-founded his own Illinois Basketball blog called The Groce Report. Grant is a member of the Davidson Class of 2020. Shoot him an email at [email protected] Follow @GrantLabedz

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