After 126 Atlantic 10 basketball games, fourteen teams are finally ready to descend upon Brooklyn and battle to be crowned Atlantic 10 Tournament Champion.
Despite the losses of Butler, Charlotte, Temple, and Xavier after the 2013 season, the Atlantic 10 thrived in 2014 while sending six teams to the NCAA Tournament. The success was no surprise to followers of the conference and Saint Louis (5 seed), VCU (5), GW (9), SJU (10), Dayton (11), and UMass (6) re-soldified the conference on the national stage. Then Dayton stormed to the Elite Eight. It was a statement year for a conference often overlooked because it lacks football.
By contrast, 2014-15 has been a “down year” in the Atlantic 10. Currently, VCU, Dayton, and Davidson are all projected to make the NCAA Tournament according to bracketologist Jerry Palm, but Rhode Island, Richmond, and GW, all capable of winning the conference tournament, will give the A-10 an extra bid. That’s an exciting prospect, and if this is a down year, I can’t wait to see an up year. Every team in the league is flawed, but high quality basketball is about to descend upon the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Sit back and enjoy the main course of the fancy steak dinner that is college basketball: March.
|Seed||Preseason Poll||Postseason Rankings||Change|
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Best Player: Tyler Kalinoski – 16.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.4 TOPG
Best Player: Jordan Sibert – 16.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.7 TOPG
#3 Rhode Island
Best Player: E.C. Matthews – 16.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2 APG, 3.6 TOPG
Best Player: Kendall Anthony – 16.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.6 TOPG
#6 George Washington
Best Player: Patricio Garino – 12.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.6 TOPG
#7 St. Bonaventure
Best Player: Youssou Ndoye – 11.9 RPG, 10.2 RPG, 2.6 BPG
Best Player: Cady Lalanne – 11.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.9 BPG
#9 La Salle
Best Player: Jordan Price – 17.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 3.3 TOPG
#10 Saint Joseph’s
Best Player: DeAndre Bembry – 17.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.9 SPG, 2.9 TOPG
Best Player: Derrick Colter – 13.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.6 TOPG
Best Player: Mandell Thomas – 13.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.3 SPG, 2.1 TOPG
#13 George Mason
Best Player: Shevon Thompson – 12.8 PPG (), 11.5 RPG, 1.1 BPG
#14 Saint Louis
Best Player: Milik Yarbrough – 10.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.1 TOPG
Teams in the Atlantic 10 beat each other up this season–the conference tournament should be no different. Expect one low seed to make a significant upset and a few to threaten the semifinals or even finals. This is March after all.
Davidson, winners of nine straight and owners of a symphony-on-the-court offense, are the favorites, but any of the top five teams could win without much surprise. VCU has struggled recently, but the media has probably over-corrected on expectations and the Rams are under-ranked. Buy low, sell high. If teams are like stocks, then now is the time to buy VCU.
Entering Brooklyn, no team has greater than a 50% chance at earning the crown. In fact, no team probably has a greater than 33% chance to win the tournament. That’s a testament to the strength and parity of the nation’s premier, not-premier conference and it’s one heckuva reason to tune in to all thirteen games.