A-10 Roundup Vol. 2: Weekend Update, Team of the Week, Updated Rankings
After two straight days of cancellations, we finally got a weekend chock-full of solid Atlantic 10 basketball. Overall, I would say the conference had a pretty solid showing on the national stage, but a few close results are still keeping the A-10 from obtaining a few more bids to March Madness. Here are a few results from the weekend that caught my eye, as well as the first edition of my own weekly all-conference team.
Dayton disappoints, St. Louis dominates
In their debut on Tuesday, Dayton made up for a close result by piling a lot of point on early. They got a little cocky, and rested on their early game laurels for a bit too long and let EIU finish the game within 3. Saturday's game against undefeated SMU was not the case. In a game that could have been a season high point, the Mustangs took advantage of poor shooting from the Flyers and won it at the buzzer. It may tough to throw a lot of blame on a team that lost at the buzzer, but when you're shooting 31% from beyond the arc with a severe lack of play variety, you're not making a great case for yourself. Two of Dayton's remaining non-conference games are against Mississippi State and Ole Miss, so those two are going to be crucial to build that resume going into A-10 play.
In an almost complete tonal shift, Saint Louis absolutely blew Arkansas-Pine Bluff out of the water, 107-54. It's not too surprising when you're playing against a school called Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but the Billikens went out and did exactly what they needed to do, turning the game into what was basically a glorified layup line. These types of wins aren't as great as you think they are, however, as besides adding a game to your win column, it's hard to evaluate how well the team played in comparison to their actual ability.
VCU looked very impressive in their 60-42 win over Mount St. Mary's on Saturday, with Bones Hyland leading the Rams with 14 points, 12 of them coming from beyond the arc. Like Saint Louis, the Rams were easily the better team, but forcing 22 turnovers and outscoring MSM 30-18 in the paint showed that VCU never took their foot off the gas. A solid win for the Rams ahead of their matchup against North Carolina A&T
Team of the Week: Week 2
RF Sam Mennenga (DAV)- Mennenga had a breakout performance against Texas in the Maui Invitational, scoring 17 points while shooting 60 percent from the floor. Coach McKillop emphasized how he's been drawing up more plays with Mennenga as a focal point, so expect a solid season from him.
Sen. Hasahn French (SLU)- Every Billiken had a great game against UAPB, but Hasahn French made sure to impress in his first game of his senior campaign. 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists is a pretty solid performance for a big man on a starting lineup featuring four scoring heavy guards in a blowout.
So. Hyunjung Lee (DAV)- It's unfortunate that Lee missed that potential game winning layup against Providence, because it would have capped off a solid performance in Maui. If Coach McKillop can get Davidson more effective on the defensive side of the ball, Lee will become a star of this conference for the next three years.
Sen. Fatts Russell (URI)- Russell has been the driving force in Rhody's current 3-game streak, including a 17 point performance against Seton Hall. Russell began the year on the Naismith Award watch list, and I don't see any reason why he should leave that list.
Sop. Nah'Shon "Bones" Hyland (VCU)- Bones lit up MSM, scoring 14. He also was at the forefront of VCU's strong defensive play, with two steals. Plus, his nickname is "Bones," which is sick.
My own rankings are going to be different than a lot of polls. Since I am doing them by myself, I will be adding the ranking points each team gets this week to how much they have last week. I'm hoping that this will show which teams are the most consistent throughout the season, and if not, I'll scrap it for next year. We still haven't seen action from all 14 teams, so the number of points the best team this week gains is proportionate to how many teams played. In the season total rankings, I will mark the teams that I currently think are tournament worthy in bold.
This Week's Rankings
Saint Louis (11 Pts.)
Richmond (10 Pts.)
VCU (9 Pts.)
URI (8 Pts.)
Dayton (7 Pts.)
Davidson (6 Pts.)
Duquesne (5 Pts.)
GW (4 Pts.)
George Mason (3 Pts.)
St. Joes (2 Pts.)
La Salle (1 Pt.)
Total Season Rankings
Richmond (19 Pts.)
Saint Louis (19 Pts.)
VCU (15 Pts.)
URI (13 Pts.)
Davidson (13 Pts.)
Dayton (7 Pts.)
George Washington (7 Pts.)
George Mason (7 Pts.)
St. Joes (4 Pts.)
La Salle (2 Pts.)