Image: Fordham Athletics
Welcome back, hoops fans! One week in, and the Atlantic 10 is already off to a rocking (or rocky, depending on who you ask) start. Without further ado, let's recap some of the biggest moments we saw this week, my team of the week, and first rankings of the season for the Might Atlantic 10 Conference!
A-10 Teams Go 13-1 on Opening Night
In an emotional roller coaster of a night, the A-10 had possibly their best opening night ever, as thirteen out of fourteen teams in the conference started their season off with a win. It definitely wasn't easy; four teams trailed at halftime, four games finished within five points, and it took an entire overtime for La Salle to fall to Sacred Heart. While the weekend that followed was a bit disappointing, Tuesday night saw many on social media predicting the A-10 to be a 3-Bid league this year.
In terms of individual performances, there was plenty to write home about. Foster Loyer, a Junior Transfer from Michigan, lead all scorers in the conference on Tuesday, dropping 27 for the Davidson Wilcats. In a high-volume shooting performance unseen during the Neubauer Era, Fordham's Darius Quisenberry dropped 25 in a win over Columbia in front of a packed Rose Hill Crowd. Taylor Funk of St. Joe's hit a buzzer beater to secure the win over UMES, and of course, Bonnies star Osun Osunniyi recorded a beastly 7 blocks.
A Weekend of Highs and Lows
While Tuesday showed a lot of promise for the conference this season, this past weekend left much to be desired. While a loss is still a loss, GW's performance against 21 Maryland was no doubt still impressive. Considering the expectations for GW entering this season, seeing the Colonials stay alive until the end against a Top 25 performance showed that Jamion Christian's vision for this team may finally be clicking. Joe Bamisile, a sophomore transfer from Virginia Tech, worked the Maryland crowd well, drawing plenty of boos and "you suck" chants on his way to 20 points.
However, it seemed that the hype would not last the A-10 through the weekend, as the conference went a collective 7-8 in games from Friday to Sunday. Fordham's 66-60 loss to Manhattan and Duquesne's 73-63 loss to Hofstra were tossups, but upsets like Wagner over VCU and Utah State over Richmond were two games that the conference simply can't afford this early on in non-conference play. With a team full of vets, and fans ready to knock down your door, Chris Mooney will need to string together some tough non-conference wins in order to get out of the coaching hot seat in which he currently sits.
Team of the Week:
Osun Osunniyi (BONA)- Come on. This was probably the easiest choice this week. Aside from winning the Atlantic 10, Osun is clearly looking to impress NBA scouts this season, and began his campaign with 7 blocks on Tuesday against Sienna College.
Ricky Lindo Jr. (GW)- Lindo was one rebound shy of a 17-point double-double on Tuesday against the St. Francis Red Flash.
Darius Quisenberry (FOR)- Quisenberry dropped 25 for the Rams in a 10-point win over Columbia. In his first year at Fordham, Quisenberry has taken on a major role in Kyle Neptune's guard-heavy offense.
Foster Loyer (DAV)- Loyer led all scorers scorers in the A-10 on Tuesday when he dropped 27 on Delaware.
Taylor Funk (SJU)- The Hawks are on a mission from God this season, and leading the way is Taylor Funk, who dropped 22 points and a game winner against UMES on Tuesday.
Unlike last year, it looks like every team is playing every week, so the most points a team can get is 14. For those of you unfamiliar, each team will get points based on their performance during the week (14 for the best, 1 for the worst), which will then be added to their total season score.
This Week's Opening Rankings
Bonnies (14 Points)
Saint Louis (13 Points)
Rhode Island (12 Points)
George Mason (11 Points)
Richmond (10 Points)
St. Joe's (9 Points)
Dayton (8 Points)
Davidson (7 Points)
VCU (6 Points)
Fordham (5 Points)
UMass (4 Points)
Duquesne (3 Points)
George Washington (2 Points)
La Salle (1 Point)
See you next week!