A wild week more for it's headlines than it's scores, the Atlantic 10 is a slightly different conference than it was five days ago. With new hires, returning teams, and moving tournaments, here are my three biggest headlines before we head into the weekend.
Fordham Turns Up Their Offense Post-Neubauer
Following Neubauer's departure, I was excited when I found out that Mike DePaoli would be taking over as Fordham's head coach for the rest of the season. As an assistant DePaoli's main priority has been working with perimeter shooters, so I was interested to see if his offensive game plan would feature more shot variety. It did, resulting in Fordham's highest scoring total all season at 62, but it's still apparent that this team has a lot of work to do in terms of getting their shooting percentage up. It's unrealistic to expect DePaoli to do much salvation before a new coach takes over next year, so if he can Fordham's offensive production to a better spot in March than it is now, I'd call Fordham's DePaoli era a success.
Dayton Takes Advantage of a Rusty Saint Louis
The Billikens gave a good fight in their first conference game of the season, but when you haven't played in a month, pulling off a win is not an easy feat. The Flyers took no quarter against a recovering Saint Louis team as their shooters got hot right off the bat, and did not let up all game. Dayton's Jalen Crutcher finished the night with 27 points off of 57% shooting, while Ibi Watson dropped 18. For a team that hadn't played as long as they had, Saint Louis did not look awful. Javonte Perkins continued right where he left off in December, dropping 20, but the Billiken's usual solid defense just could not seal the deal with Saint Louis. This loss will probably take them out of the Top 25 come Monday, but Saint Louis is still my favorite to get an at-large bid from the A-10.
A-10 Tournament Officially Moves to Virginia
The Conference has been discussing this move all season, but following an official press release and conference from the A-10 on Thursday, the 2021 Atlantic 10 Tournament was officially moved to Richmond. The University of Richmond and VCU will co-host the tournament from March 10-14. As much as I would love the tournament to be in Brooklyn, this move is exactly the right one in terms of player safety and logistics. Most conferences around the country seem to be moving to this model for conference tournaments in the hopes that it will minimize any more travel-related positive tests. While I don't think it will play a huge part, I think it's worth noting the home-court advantage this could give VCU. They've proven to be a scrappy team that can rattle opposing schools in their home court, so their tournament run this year is going to be worth checking out.
Remember to check back on Monday for Volume 10, where I break down my team of the week and update the seasonal aggregate rankings.