We’re back previewing the A10 tournament, chuckleheads. Myself, Blackburn and Vines (Donny kinda helped) have put our brains together to prognosticate to the best of our abilities, and this is what we got. This article is mostly a representation of how Blackburn and I communicate about hoops: he went through the rounds one-by-one and I either nod my head in agreement or grab the virtual pitchfork.
Blackburn: For starters, UD will take on the winner of the Davidson/La Salle matchup, and between you and me, the result probably doesn’t matter. I’ll pick Davidson simply because Dr. John v. Bob McKillop seems rather one-sided and one last look at Jack Gibbs is preferable to Giannini’s transfer train wreck. I think Davidson can give Archie’s team a game, clearly, but we all saw Gibbs and Aldridge lose steam down the stretch in their first matchup against Dayton, so my gut tells me they would need a Herculean effort to beat UD on just 22 hours of rest. Davidson is the nine seed for a reason, and UD wins a close one over the Wildcats (if I wanted to be snarky I would have said “Mildcats,” you can’t take me anywhere!)
Sully: Gibbs and Aldridge can beat this LaSalle team in 40 minutes of short work. They cannot beat LaSalle and then Dayton the next day. As I mentioned on the podcast this week, I’m not entirely sure why Flyer fans are so scared of Davidson. We got their absolute BEST effort a few weeks ago and it still wasn’t enough. A well-rested UD team isn’t going down on Friday. Nah. Get those tickets for Saturday now.Blackburn: Bonaventure is the likely opponent for Rhody in the quarterfinals, which could turn out to be one of the better games of the tournament. Rhode Island handled the Bonnies pretty easily the first time they met and I don’t think round two will be much different. No one has more to play for in Pittsburgh than Danny Hurley’s club, and I think they show up and make a statement. The Kingston Rams advance to take on Dayton in the first semifinal.
Sully: I can’t believe I’m fucking doing this…but I’m going to ride my horse straight into the grave. I said at the beginning of the year, in my conference preview, that UMass could be a sneaky team with young talent. What ended up happening? UMass is just a stinky team with young talent (I got jokes too). UMass has been awful since pretty much the morning after they beat UD in January, but here I am, March 7th, still believing there’s some magic in these young UMass boys. I got the Minutemen beating a St. Joe’s team that probably needs to dress some athletic trainers at this point, and then upsetting the St. Bonaventure Adamses on Thursday. Bonaventure fans know damn well they can lay an egg at any point, I think that time is Thursday afternoon. But alas, none of this matters. The UMass dream will come to an end, and we will get URI-UD Part III. Seriously, UD-URI is inevitable, and for my money will probably be the best game of the tournament.
Blackburn: On the other side of the bracket, I got Fordham taking care of George Mason and GW taking down a spirited Duquesne squad (by spirited I mean the Dukes are coming off an actual win). In the quarters, the Richmond Rams easily dispose of Fordham, avenging their loss to the Bronx Rams earlier this season. Jeff Neubauer meets a divorcee in the hotel bar and he is soon headed to his third marriage. A10 Player of the Year TJ Cline leads Richmond over George Washington and Maurice Joseph will have a meeting with Patrick Nero on Monday morning – whatever happens is between consenting adults.
Sully: Maybe it was the ass-whipping UD just took last week in Foggy Bottom, but I got GW upsetting Richmond in the nightcap on Friday. I think defensively they find an answer for Cline and it’s curtains. Richmond is obviously the weakest of the top four headed to Pittsburgh and I think their true colors bleed through, setting up a good ol’ DC-Richmond game in the semis between GW and VCU.
Special note: You must go over to UDPride for the lolz from time to time, and the best chuckle I got this year was from (what I assume) was an older gentleman, telling people how many DUQ fans would be there this coming weekend. AND TO BOOT, this same fellow said “security guards would have their DUQ shirts on underneath. They will surely give Dayton fans a hard time. We’re not welcome there.” Now, as a person who grew up in Pittsburgh let’s start here: No one in Pittsburgh gives a rat’s ass about Duquesne basketball. The security guys might not even know Duquesne qualified for this tournament, let alone when they’re playing. The beauty of Pittsburgh is that there will be no home court advantage unless I-70 is well traveled from the west by Red Sweaters. To book end: if a Pittsburgher gives you shit, it’s more likely than not that they are too slow to realize you are rooting for the “Dayton” Flyers, and not their bitter hockey-rival, Philadelphia Flyers. (I had to explain this to friends quite often growing up. We’re the good Flyers)Blackburn: In the semis, URI makes up for missed opportunities, finally taking out our beloved Flyers and perhaps sealing an NCAA tournament berth in the process. Mrs. Archie is relieved; she has time to clean up the Miller’s dark basement in time for Selection Sunday. Later that day the Spiders defeat their city rivals, dispatching VCU and making their first appearance in the championship game since 2011. Will Wade takes a call from a certain school in South Carolina as he departs the plane later that night.
Sully: Blackburn has been barking up this tree for a few weeks now and I think he’s full of shit. Dayton and VCU will play for the conference title, as the good Lord intended. Rhodey isn’t getting an at-large bid, get out of here with that nonsense.
Blackburn: In the end, Rhode Island cuts down the nets to claim their first Atlantic Ten tournament title since Jim Harrick was sliding c-notes to Lamar Odom. Rhody, UD and VCU head to the Big Dance and Travis Ford sits calmly out on his veranda waiting to make fools of us all next season.
Sully: So, this is obviously where me and the big chief differ. I think we all get UD-VCU on Sunday in front of a red sea of Sweaters and it’s heartbreak city again for your Flyers. Over the years I have said I would never pick the Flyers to win the conference tournament until I saw it with my own eyes, and this year is no different. VCU will hurt our feelings for a few minutes on Sunday, until the bracket comes out of course. Then you’ll forget about it, just like you did last year, and the year before, and the year before that. If UD is to win it all this weekend…I’ll believe it when I see it.
Since I told you Donny would contribute, he picked VCU to beat URI on Sunday.
And in a strange twist of events, the great pessimist himself, Mr. Vines, has picked your Dayton Flyers to beat Richmond and cut down the nets in PPG Paints Arena. It is indeed strange times when this man is picking Dayton to go 3-for-3 and win the whole thing.
And check this shit out! This is what ya boy predicted on November 3rd when I wrote my first article for the season. One game off and sticking to my guns:I do encourage you to provide your takes in the comments below, but make ’em spicey.
Lest I remind you the two rules if you are heading to Pittsburgh this weekend: Ware Red, Be LOWD. I’ll see you there.
The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.