• Sam Basel

A-10 Roundup Vol. 9: Time to Worry? Plus Team of the Week, Updated Rankings


As the clock winded down on Dayton-VCU, and the Rams bench began their celebration of pulling off a solid upset win, Twitter was abuzz. However, it was not in celebration of VCU's win, nor was it in celebration of La Salle's upset over Richmond just hours earlier. It was in a panic, a panic centered around Jon Rothstein's Tweet in which he described the A-10 as a conference that was "Cannibalizing itself." While I understand why a conference full of upsets might cause some worries in terms of tournament bids, I'm going to take some time this week to explain why it's not the end of the world. As usual, I'll also be giving my team of the week and updating my weekly and seasonal rankings.


Is the Atlantic 10 Falling Apart?

There is a short-term answer and a long-term answer to this question. In the short-term, I will admit that, yes, some of the upsets we have seen this weekend and over the last few weeks will damper the Atlantic 10's hopes at getting two at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament this year. When looking at teams like Richmond, whose early win against a fraudulent Kentucky team and a loss to Hofstra dampen their non-conference schedule, dropping a game at home to a team like La Salle looks really bad on their resume. This is a season in which you can't afford lapses like these, especially in a conference like the Atlantic 10.


Looking at the conference right now, Saint Louis is the only team who I think has a guaranteed at-large bid. I think they'll clinch one anyway barring any conference tournament shenanigans, but regardless, Billikens fans should not be worried about seeing their team play through mid-March. Outside of SLU, I'd put Bonaventure and UMass as potential bid schools, but they'll have to have a very strong finish to their regular season before I can write that selection in pen.


For my long term answer, I advise any A-10 basketball fan worried about the conference's bids this year to simply not to. While plenty of the upsets that happened this season were due more to the favorite not playing up to par than the underdog overperforming, a competitive conference is better for everyone involved, regardless of how they stand in comparison to other conferences around the country. La Salle isn't heading into the locker after beating Richmond thinking, "man, it sucks that we won. I hope that doesn't bite Dayton in the butt on Selection Sunday." You can't rely on your conference to will you to the playoffs.


Team of the Week

Forwards:

Jr. Jared Kimbrough (LAS)- Kimbrough enters this list not only for his great performance on his own, dropping 12 points and 9 rebounds off the bench, all the while matching up against Grant Golden, but also as a representative for his team that pulled off an exciting upset.


Sr. Grant Golden (RICH)- Despite the loss, Grant Golden had a solid performance against La Salle, and regains his spot in the discussion for the best forward in the conference after the Spiders long absence. Golden muscled his way to 22 points on Saturday.


Guards:

So. Nah'Shon "Bones" Hyland (VCU)- Hyland put on another spectacle on Saturday with 28 points against the Flyers. VCU has emerged as one of the better defensive teams in the conference, especially at home, giving Hyland plenty of room to work on offense.


Sr. Tavian Dunn-Martin (DUQ)- Dunn-Martin led the charge in Duquesne's near-upset over the Bonnies, dropping 18 points to go along with a steal and an assist. For a guy that started this season on the bench, Dunn-Martin has really stepped up for his team.


Sr. Kellan Grady (DAV)- If Davidson was able to pull off that win against Providence way back in November, they'd be on my shortlist for an at-large bid. Davidson is a team full of hot shooters that can be really frustrating for unexpecting teams, and Kellan Grady is at the forefront of that assault, dropping 22 points against a strong UMass team on Sunday.


Rankings:

Saint Louis once again is on hiatus. They'll look to make their return on Tuesday against Richmond, their first game in over a month. George Washington was also an indirect victim of quarantining this week as Richmond was unable to resume play in time for their game. The most points a team can get this week is 12.


This Week's Ranking:

  1. St. Bonaventure (12 Pts.)

  2. VCU (11 Pts.)

  3. La Salle (10 Pts.)

  4. Davidson (9 Pts.)

  5. Duquesne (8 Pts.)

  6. URI (7 Pts.)

  7. Richmond (6 Pts.)

  8. Dayton (5 Pts.)

  9. UMass (4 Pts.)

  10. George Mason (3 Pts.)

  11. Fordham (2 Pts.)

  12. St. Joe's (1 Pt.)

Aggregate Rankings:

  1. VCU (69 Pts.)

  2. Richmond (66 Pts.)

  3. Davidson (61 Pts.)

  4. URI (56 Pts.)

  5. St. Bonaventure (52 Pts.)

  6. Dayton (49 Pts.)

  7. Saint Louis (48 Pts.)

  8. UMass (39 Pts.)

  9. La Salle (35 Pts.)

  10. George Mason (30 Pts.)

  11. George Washington (26 Pts.)

  12. Duquesne (24 Pts.)

  13. Saint Joe's (12 Pts.)

  14. Fordham (9 Pts.)



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