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
St. Joe’s guard Garrett Williamson was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive team today, the only Hawk to garner any postseason recognition.
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Richmond’s Kevin Anderson was named Player of the Year, while Fordham’s Chris Gaston was honored as the Rookie of the Year. Damian Saunders earned recognition as the Defensive Player of the Year, and Temple’s Ramone Moore was named the Sixth Man of the Year.
Temple’s Fran Dunphy took home Coach of the Year honors, while Dayton’s Chris Johnson earned the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player award. Yves Mekongo of La Salle was named the Student-Athlete of the Year.
Anderson leads a first team comprised of all underclassmen, including A-10 co-scoring champ Jordan Crawford. Ricky Harris of UMass, who finished tied with Crawford at 19.7 points per game, landed on the third team.
Williamson struggled early on, but has turned in some tremendous performances down the stretch, solidifying his reputation as one of the best on-ball defenders in the conference. The season highlight for him and the Hawks was his emphatic block in the waning seconds against Dayton to seal the upset over the Flyers. 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