The Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament is back at the Barclays Center once again and all 14 teams will be in the field. A #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament could be hanging in the balance for the Dayton Flyers, so they have a lot of motivation to continue their rampage through the conference.
As things currently stand, the Richmond Spiders seem to have the most to gain this week, as most bracket projections have them on the outside looking in. The A-10 looks to be just a one-bid league this season, unless Richmond can navigate its half of the bracket and take care of business against Dayton in the finals. A run to the finals might be enough if that road goes through Rhode Island, but removing all doubt would be the preferred outcome.
Because Dayton has been so dominant and has the résumé of a #1 seed, the A-10 ranks ninth in Bart Torvik’s conference rankings. Otherwise, this is a pretty mediocre league, as evidenced by one surefire team in the field and only one on the fringes.
Will we get any surprises in Brooklyn? Let’s find out.
Here are the teams, seeds, standings, and odds from BetOnline Sportsbook for the 2020 A-10 Tournament:
- Dayton 29-2 (18-0) -350
- Richmond 24-7 (14-4) +700
- Rhode Island 21-9 (13-5) +500
- Saint Louis 23-8 (12-6) +2000
- St. Bonaventure 19-12 (11-7) (record vs. Dayton) +2000
- Duquesne 21-9 (11-7) +2500
- Davidson 16-14 (10-8) +4000
- UMass 14-17 (8-10) (H2H tiebreaker) +10000
- VCU 18-13 (8-10) +2000
- La Salle 15-15 (6-12) (H2H tiebreaker) +10000
- George Washington 12-19 (6-12) +10000
- George Mason 16-15 (5-13) +10000
- Saint Joseph’s 6-25 (2-16) (H2H tiebreaker) +10000
- Fordham 8-22 (2-16) +10000
There are some impressive records in this conference, due in part to the fact that the bottom half of the league is so weak. VCU is the biggest underachiever in this conference by a large margin. They were not expected to be a team with a losing record in conference action, but two losses to Dayton and a blowout loss to Richmond sort of sent the team reeling late in the year.
This is a top-heavy conference and it would be fairly surprising to see upsets in the early rounds. The top teams are just better than everybody else. Davidson still plays that all or nothing offensive brand of basketball, so they could be the high seed that makes something of a push. Beyond that, it would be a big surprise to see anybody else making a move that throws off the balance of this league.
Here is the schedule for the 2020 A-10 Tournament:
Wednesday March 11
1 p.m. ET: 13 Saint Joseph’s vs. 12 George Mason
3:30 p.m. ET: 14 Fordham vs. 11 George Washington
Thursday March 12
12 p.m. ET: 9 VCU vs. 8 UMass
2:30 p.m. ET: 13/12 winner vs. 5 St. Bonaventure
6 p.m. ET: 10 La Salle vs. 7 Davidson
8:30 p.m. ET: 14/11 winner vs. 6 Duquesne
Friday March 13
12 p.m. ET: 9/8 winner vs. 1 Dayton
2:30 p.m. ET: 13/12/5 winner vs. 4 Saint Louis
6 p.m. ET: 10/7 winner vs. 2 Richmond
8:30 p.m. ET: 14/11/6 winner vs. 3 Rhode Island
Saturday March 14
1 p.m. ET: 9/8/1 winner vs. 13/12/5/4 winner
3:30 p.m. ET: 10/7/2 winner vs. 14/11/6/3 winner
Sunday March 15
1 p.m. ET: Championship Game
VCU and Dayton appear to be on a crash course in the quarterfinals, which is a game that could take a lot out of the Flyers. That is a rivalry and maybe the most heated rivalry in this conference. It could open the door for Saint Louis, who is the best defensive team in this league and the team that came closest to beating Dayton. The Billikens went to overtime on their home floor with Dayton and lost by two.
The other side of the bracket is really interesting. Richmond has no margin for error and will likely run into a dangerous Davidson team in the quarterfinals. It looks like Rhode Island has a tough game against Duquesne and maybe the Dukes are better than we’ve given them credit for all season long, but Rhode Island has a higher ceiling and more standout talent. Of course, the Rams have also fallen a little bit short of expectations I would say. They are first in the conference in 3P% defense, which could matter a lot the deeper this conference tournament goes.
Richmond is a really solid team that does just about everything well. The lone blemish for the Spiders is that they struggle badly on the offensive glass, but they make up for it well by not allowing the opposition to get second-chance points. The Spiders also boast the best free throw percentage in the conference and that could come in handy, both in terms of advancing and also covering numbers in a favorite role.
Dayton is very likely going to win the conference tournament in the quest for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It wouldn’t hurt the Flyers to lose and get a little bit of rest, but this seems like a team on a legitimate mission. That being said, I still like Saint Louis as a value play here. The Billikens are likely to get a Flyers team off of a third meeting with VCU. Saint Louis might be stout enough defensively to slow Dayton down. Not many teams have. The problem for Saint Louis is that they are abominably bad from the free throw line at 58.2%, so they leave a ton of points out there. Otherwise, they’re not a bad offensive team.
As a general rule, we try to avoid butting heads with top seeds, particularly ones like Dayton that stand out as being a dominant team, but the fact that Saint Louis is on that side of the draw actually inflates their price a little bit.
As far as the bottom of the bracket, Rhode Island would be my pick to emerge from there, but there is not a whole lot of equity in their futures price.
Pick: Saint Louis +2000