Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Atlantic 10 Preview

In a couple of months it will be the end of an era.  No longer will I care about schools like Fordham, St. Bonaventure, and Rhode Island.  No longer will I worry about a UMASS home game against St. Louis.  No longer will I have the gamecast up to see if Dayton blows another home game against a conference bottom feeder.  I've always been a huge A10 fan, only conference I care about from the top to the bottom, but as I said earlier, that will come to an end.  But for one last year, it still matters.  So here we go, your A10 preview for the 2013 season.  We have some new blood and some new "contenders", some usual suspects and a few that will not heard be from this year.  So, so long A10, its been real, it's been fun, it's been really fun (sometimes).

16 teams this year, a conference high.  We have broken these teams down into five categories with a few notes on each.  Also, the order they are in is my predicted order of finish in conference play.


VCU -  These guys are fast, these guys can score, and they have experience.  They have 10 guys that average over 10 minutes a game so they just keep coming at you.  Most of their big games are at home, so right now I give them the edge even though this is their first year in the A10 and they'll have a few more tough games then in their previous conference.

BUTLER - Everyone knows about Butler, it is well documented.  This is their first year in the A10.  They play so smart, they play great D, and they don't beat themselves.  At times they struggle scoring, but Rotnei Clark is now a threat on the outside.  With wins over Indiana, Marquette, and North Carolina they deserve their top 15 ranking.  I would make them the favorite right now, but St. Louis, St. Joe's, and VCU are all on the road, they might come up a win short.

TEMPLE - This team struggles at times to score but the effort is always there.  With Khalif Wyatt on the team, every time they step on the court they have a chance to win.  Wyatt is probably the best scorer in the conference and can carry the team if it is needed.  With Anthony Lee, Hollis-Jefferson, and Randall playing defense and rebounding the way they have been, they can beat anyone in the league.  However, they will have some off shooting nights and will probably drop a few games they should win.


ST. LOUIS - This team is obviously playing with a purpose this year due to the loss of Rick Majerus.  They have experience with 10 juniors and seniors.  They play great defense and have already held 10 teams under 60 points.  Defense travels well so they will be in every game.  Kwamain Mitchell is now back and they hope he can carry them further this year.

UMASS - The minutemen will be a tough out this year.  They can light it up from downtown and Chaz Williams is a game changer.  If they get hot they can steal some games, but as we all know, sometimes you are cold.  They'll lose enough games to not be at the top in the end.

LASALLE - Pretty much the same as UMASS.  LaSalle can score and they have some experience but they seem to go cold a lot and won't play consistently enough to make a run at it.  Galloway is their Chaz Williams.  You know they'll steal some games that you don't expect them to.

ST. JOSEPH'S - Picked as the preseason champ by the coaches, this team isn't living up to their expectations right now.  They returned pretty much their whole team so we know they can put it together.  Jones, Galloway, and Aiken can all score and control the game.  Fortunately for the contenders this team always seems to lose winnable games under Martelli.  Expect the same this year.


DAYTON - Kevin Dillard is a stud, and if there weren't so many great guards in this conference, he would be a first teamer.  Like a few of these teams I've already mentioned, this team struggles to score at times and just never seems to win any road games.  They take care of business at home because they get every call so they will always be in the middle of the pack with home wins.  I have Devin Oliver as a first team all conference player, let's see if he makes me look smart.

RICHMOND - Darien Brothers is still there? How old is that guy?  This team is small, they currently are 328th in division one in rebounding, that won't get the job done in this league.  They are a solid team, but the Spiders won't be stealing any road games and making themselves a threat in the league.

XAVIER - The Musketeers are young but talented.  They only have two seniors on the roster and they are really hurt by the losses of Lyons and Wells.  They scare me as a Temple fan but when you can't beat Wofford at home, you can't be taken seriously.

CHARLOTTE - Nice nonconference record but not one of those teams is in the RPI top 100.  In fact six of the 12 wins are against teams top 200 or higher.  Braswell is a good player and might be able to win some games by himself, but not enough.


DUQUESNE - Young team, only two seniors.  Not much to talk about here.  They'll win some games only because some of these other teams are terrible.

ST. BONAVENTURE - They can drill the threes and they play well at home.  Same as above, they can beat the teams below.


GEORGE WASHINGTON - Only one guy averaging over 10 points a game.  Zero wins against a team better than 200 in the RPI.  Just nothing to like.  Cupcake city.

RHODE ISLAND - Jim Baron knew what he was doing when he got the hell out of Rhodey.  The cupboard is bare, RPI of 177, lost to Norfolk State.  This is like a team scrimmage when you play them. 

FORDHAM - Boy am I going to miss these scheduled wins every year.  See ya Rams.

There are a large number of huge games to look forward to this season.  But as we all know, in a few weeks, these games may no longer be huge due to a team or teams laying eggs.  Then again a few big games could pop up due to a team playing above their potential.  Anyway, here are 10 huge matchups that I am looking forward to.

Butler at St. Joseph's (1/9)
Huge game for both.  Butler needs to win these kind of games to win the conference.  St. Joe's needs this to really show if they are going to contend or not.

UMASS at. St. Louis (1/10)
Early contender or pretender matchup.

St. Louis at Temple (1/12)
Temple needs to hold at home and St. Louis needs to steal one.

Temple at Butler (1/26)
Same as above, Butler needs to hold at home, Temple needs to steal one.  I'll be attending this game, can't wait.

Dayton at Xavier (1/30)
This may be one of Dayton's best chances ever to break the unbreakable hex.

Butler at St. Louis (1/31)
Depending on the standings around this date, this game could put one of the teams really behind the 8 ball.

Temple at St. Joseph's (2/2)
Huge rivalry game, Temple seeks revenge from last year.  Only matchup for first time in a long time.

VCU at St. Louis (2/19)
First big road game for VCU in the A10.

Butler at VCU (3/2)
Newcomers collide, if predictions are correct, this could be for the one seed.

VCU at Temple (3/10)
If you ask me, this will be for the conference.  Either way, huge test going into tourney play.

All CONFERENCE TEAM: Khalif Wyatt (Temple), Chaz Williams (UMASS), Devin Oliver (Dayton), Juvonte Reddic (VCU), CJ Aiken (St. Joe's) 

I think five teams make the tourney: VCU, Butler, Temple, St. Louis, UMASS

So there you have it, my final prediction for the Atlantic 10 Conference.  I'll miss it, but I hope I am left with some good memories.  How do you all see it shaping up this year?  Love to hear your thoughts.  If you made it this far, thanks for reading.


1 comment:

  1. Nice coverage but I think you give too much love to umass maybe its headstrong predictions for a fan favorite but look to RI to make a strong comeback over the next several seasons