Weekend Wrap: Flyers, Colonials struggle while Wildcats continue to roll
FLYERS STRUGGLE AT ARKANSAS
The Razorbacks snapped a two-game losing streak by returning to Fayetteville and making easy work of the Flyers. Dayton got off to a terrible start and dug themselves a 17-point hole that they couldn’t dig out of despite outscoring the Razorbacks in the second half. UD was outscored at the free throw stripe by eight and really struggled to hit from deep connecting on just 27.8% of their 18 three-pointers. Only one Flyer scored in double-digits, senior Jordan Sibert who had 18 in his 30 minutes of action. Dayton ranks 105th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, down from 36th last season. The Flyers are 1-2 against kenpom top-100 squads this season so will likely need to do much of their resume building over the conference season.
BONA GETS ‘MORAL VICTORY’ AT PITT
I’ve never heard a coach acknowledge a moral victory in a post-game presser so I will call Bona’s close loss at Pitt just that on their behalf. SBU led the Panthers by a point at the half by playing lock-down D but were unable to generate enough points in this particular rock fight to leave Pittsburgh with a big non-conference victory. Bona was 6-1 up to that point but hadn’t faced the level of competition needed to convince this particular blogger they had truly “arrived” after being picked 10th in this season’s A-10 preseason poll. Had Youssou Ndoye had a better offensive game Bona might be the talk of the A-10 this week but even in the loss they moved up a few notches in my book.
WHAT TO MAKE OF GW’s LOSS AT PENN STATE?
I’M SO CONFUSED!!! GW wasn’t supposed to lose to Penn State, a team coming off a 16-18 season who while 9-1 at that point at yet to really play “anyone” and struggled to beat some not-so-good teams (2-point home win over Duquesne, 4-point road win at Marshall, 3-point home win over a bad Virginia Tech team, 1-point neutral court win over a really bad Cornell team). They were supposed to win on the road and validate me ranking them No.1 in my ‘NO BS Power Rankings’. I don’t know how to feel about this loss but what I do know is the Colonials’ inability to hit the long ball is becoming an obvious issue (0-8 from deep against PSU). The reality is this: GW is going to be a tough team in the A-10 year, but also just graduated two key pieces and will certainly miss them at times.
VCU OUTLASTS No.23 NORTHERN IOWA, PICKS UP A RESUME BUILDER
Sounds kind weird, right? No.23 Northern Iowa. Either way, what’s been a solid program for some time now, UNI climbed their way into the top-25 after a 9-0 start despite needing overtime to outlast what’s been a really bad George Mason team in Cedar Falls the week leading into those rankings. That certainly takes a bit of the sizzle out of that win for the Rams, especially at home, but the reality is UNI is currently a kenpom top-30 team and the No.24 team in the country according to the RPI. The win moves VCU up to No.8 in the RPI with the No.1 overall strength of schedule in the country. It’s real early, but that’s a great side of the bubble to be on. The Rams got down early due to some lights out Panthers shooting but took a lead into the half, a lead they would stretch to 11 before UNI made a late run to help get the game to OT. VCU made the plays late to escape what would have been their second consecutive home loss. Lose that game and it’s chaos in Ram Nation. However they escaped and all of a sudden VCU has “momentum” after a top-25 win. Go figure.
DAVIDSON WINS SIXTH STRAIGHT
I have no clue how good this Davidson team really is. They have won their last six since losing at UNC by 18 but have only played one team inside kenpom’s top-200, only two inside his top-250. The Wildcats head to CofC for one of their biggest tests of this young season, unfortunately not exactly the MCAT’s as Charleston ranks No.181 according to Kenpom. We may know a bit more about the Wildcats if they lose that one but they are likely to remain a mystery through about halfway through the A-10 regular season as five of their first six contests are against A-10 teams that rank in the top-100.
A few players went off this weekend. Here’s a list of the best of the best in the A-10 this past Saturday and Sunday.
Maxie Esho (UMass) – Esho nearly hit a double-double in his 26 minutes against Canisius, scoring 20 points on 7-9 shooting to go with nine rebounds.
Tyler Kalinoski (Davidson) – 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists as Davidson routed Niagara. Solid line for the senior.
Jarelle Reischel (Rhode Island) – Reischel only finished with 10 points and seven rebounds but did it in just 13 minutes off the bench. That’s bench production right there.
Treveon Graham (VCU) – Graham posted a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double in VCU’s crucial win over Northern Iowa. Graham added three assists on the night.
Offensively challenged A-10 – I was surprised that just three Atlantic 10 teams rank in the top-100 in adjusted offensive efficiency at this point in the season. That’s down from five last season and Davidson wasn’t in the conference then. Eight A-10 teams rank in the top-100 in adjusted defensive efficiency, the same amount as last season.
16 – Davidson (88.6 ppg, 3rd nationally)
25 – VCU (76.8 ppg)
73 – UMass (74.8 ppg)
Top-25s – A list of things A-10 teams are really good at.
VCU – steal % D (No.14 nationally), turnover % D (No.16)
Rhody – 2p% offense (No.16 nationally)
Dayton – FTA/FGA offense (No.9), meaning Dayton gets to the free throw stripe at a VERY high rate
Davidson – adjusted offensive efficiency (No.16), effective field goal % offense (No.12), turnover % offense (No.13), 3p% offense (No.17), steal % offense (No.8), 3p% defense (No.16), ft% defense (No.24)…although that last one is sorta out of their control.
UMass – FTA/FGA offense (No.10) (see above next to Dayton)
St. Bonaventure – 2p% defense (No.13)
St. Joseph’s – FTA/FGA defense (No.23)
SLU – FTA/FGA offense (No.15), turnover % defense (No.15)…higher than VCU. How about that?
Fordham – free throw % defense (No.23). Whatever Fordham is doing defensively at the free throw line……is working.