The Atlantic 10 Conference doesn’t have a whole lot of great teams, but they do have a nice assortment of good teams, which should make for an interesting conference race. Virginia Commonwealth looks to be the team to beat entering the season, but there is some talent here and not a whole lot of extremely poor teams, making the A-10 one of the top 10 conferences in the nation.
VCU: The Rams are a borderline top 25 team to start the season and they have a marquee player in Marcus Evans, but the overall strength of the Atlantic 10 is getting stronger, so it may not be quite as easy as it looks on paper for VCU.
Davidson: Davidson returns all five starters from last year’s team, including the A-10 Player of the Year in Jon Axel Gudmundsson. If anybody can catch VCU, it will most likely be the Wildcats.
Dayton: The Flyers aren’t much behind the top two teams and welcome back Obi Toppin, who shot an impressive 66.6% from the field last year. The A-10 could get three teams in the NCAA Tournament as long as the Flyers take care of business.
Rhode Island: There’s definitely a drop-off after the top three teams, but the Rams have some solid players, including Jeff Dowtin. Rhode Island has a tough schedule, which can either help or hurt depending on the outcome of those games.
Richmond: The Spiders have a relatively soft preseason schedule, which will likely hurt the team when it comes time for tournament selections. They have the talent to make one of the smaller tournaments and should be pushing close to 20 wins with their schedule.
St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies are a pretty decent defensive team, but are a little lacking in the scoring department. Another team that seems destined for the smaller tournaments.
Duquesne: The Dukes are another team loading up on weak competition in the preseason and due to their schedule should be around 18 to 20 wins on the season, but they’re not as good as quite a few others in the conference.
St. Louis: The Billikens can play defense and that’s about the best that you can say for them, as they’re not a great offensive team. A brutal early slate has St. Louis playing the likes of Seton Hall, Auburn and Kansas State.
George Mason: Even with some pretty weak foes on the preseason schedule George Mason will have a tough time getting to .500 and they’ll go as far as the defense takes them.
LaSalle: The Explorers aren’t particularly good on offense or defense and also have a few tough foes on the schedule. Getting to .500 would be a major accomplishment.
George Washington: George Washington lacks the offense to do much in the A-10, although the defense isn’t bad. They’ll be trying to avoid the basement in the conference standings.
St. Joes: A tough schedule and a poor offense are likely going to lead to a long season for St. Joseph’s. The team likes to play up-tempo but don’t really have the horses for it.
Fordham: Fordham is another team that looks to ride a soft preseason schedule into some type of tournament bid. The Rams can play defense, but boy, that offense is bad.
UMass: The Minutemen are poor on offense and defense and could have trouble escaping the basement. Anything more than 11 or 12 wins would have to be considered a success.
Atlantic 10 Conference Opening Power Ratings
|Virginia Commonwealth Rams||88|
|Rhode Island Rams||81|
|St. Bonaventure Bonnies||79|
|St. Louis Billikens||77|
|George Mason Patriots||75|
|George Washington Colonials||72|
|St. Joseph’s Hawks||71|