Ok, I’ll take the blame: I was responsible for ranking the men’s Atlantic 10 basketball field in our Basketball Preview way back when in November. With the A-10 Tournament looming, what better time than the present to simultaneously pat myself on the back while kicking myself over the path taken by my prognostications? All comments, insults, and compliments (especially compliments) are welcomed.
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Our prediction: 1
Final place: 7
It’s hard to figure where Dayton’s season went awry. They started out 13-3—with a win over a ranked Georgia Tech and two narrow losses at other ranked opponents in New Mexico and Villanova. But the Flyers stumbled down the stretch, going 6-8 in their final 14 games, including losses in five of their last seven outings. Defense’s penchant for keying in on Chris Wright successfully has limited his ability to take over games. He hasn’t been the superstar he’s needed to be, and the supporting cast has been unspectacular.
Our prediction: 2
Final place: 2
Bull’s-eye! I’ll take any victory I can get. It didn’t look that way early on, with the Musketeers stumbling out of an extraordinarily tough nonconference slate with an 8-5 record. But this young squad, led by A-10 scoring champ Jordan Crawford and the rapid maturation of Jason Love into a premier big man, has meshed down the stretch. They’ve crept into the Top 25 thanks to a seven-game win streak, and could end up with a high seed in the Big Dance if they can buck their trend of poor showings in the A-10 Tourney in recent history. Continue reading
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. They don’t mention what happens on instance number seven.
That’s the position many St. Joe’s fans are in now (thought the estimate of seven is very low) after falling into the oh-so-familiar trap of buying into the heightened expectations that a handful of consecutive wins creates.
The loss to UMass was especially tough to swallow, as will be most from here on out, because the win over Dayton gave everyone a tantalizing view of what the Hawks are capable of. Yes, last night’s effort was tempered by the fatigue of three games in five days, something largely out of the team’s control. But the loss still stings, and you can’t help but think that if the circumstances were different, the result might have been as well.
After the Penn game, I went though a checklist of things that needed to happen for the St. Joe’s streak to continue. Here’s the report card from UMass: Continue reading
It’s no secret that St. Joe’s is floundering heading into the start of Atlantic 10 play tonight, losers of eight of their last nine. They are one of only three teams in the conference that enter the conference slate with a losing record. Here’s what the rest of the A-10 looks like with conference play starting tonight:
Charlotte (10-3): The 49ers have an ugly loss to Old Dominion on the resumé, but balance that with a quality win, and a blowout at that, at then No. 18 ranked Louisville, 87-65. Two of their three losses have been to ranked teams (at Duke and against Georgia Tech their last time out), but they have another chance for a big win against a distracted Tennessee team today to bolster their postseason hopes with a strength of schedule that ranks 277th in the nation. Boston College transfer Shamari Spears has been just as big as his 245-pound frame indicates, averaging 17.0 points per game, while guard Derrio Green has the hot hand after 31 points, including seven three-pointers, against Georgia Tech.
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Dayton (11-3): A tough early season schedule has Dayton in a strong position to start conference play. They started the season in the top 25, but consecutive losses to Villanova (then ranked sixth in the nation) and Kansas State (now ranked 10th in the nation) knocked them from the polls. They stuck close in both games, as well as a two-point loss at New Mexico, but do have a victory over Georgia Tech to their credit. The two Chris’s, Wright and Johnson, have been pacing the Flyers as their only two double-figures scorers. They’ll be tested early in the conference season, as they’ll travel to Xavier on Jan. 16 on national television (ESPN2, 11 a.m.) in the first of two battles for Ohio. Continue reading
With the departure of Ahmad Nivins to the greener pastures of…North Spain, its fair to say everyone is expecting a bit of down season from Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball.
ESPN, on the other had, is expecting a meteoric free fall. Last week’s A-10 Shootaround paints a picture bleaker than even my pessimism allows, picking them 12th out of the 14 teams in the Atlantic 10. (For the record, my pessimism tentatively prognosticates 13-17, 6-10 A-10 with one win in Atlantic City).
On the bright side though, the same article has freshman Carl Jones as one of the newcomers to watch in the conference. That’s right, all 5-11, 155 pounds of him (though to be fair, the St. Joe’s athletic website has him at an imposing 6-0, 165).
Hey, the Hagan Arena is nice, right?
-Matthew De George ’10