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The lone game that takes place over Thanksgiving always seems to be a dangerous one for the Flyers. The students are gone, some of the Sweaters are out of town being burdens to their families, and the player’s “tutors” are just starting to realize how many papers they will have to ghostwrite in the coming weeks. All the energy surrounding the game seems to be sucked out, as no one is particularly excited to watch a prototypical mid-major battle the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
There will be reasons for this. Ohio State will be facing off against Michigan at noon, relatives will still be in town, and some will be battling third-degree burns from grease fires. The Arena will look and feel like a plasma donation center on a Tuesday afternoon, minus the humanity. A collection of people with absolutely nothing else to do, nowhere else to go. The unloved, the unwashed, the hopeless.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]The State of the A10[/title]
The bottom half of Atlantic Ten looks like a full diaper right now.
Saint Louis maybe the league’s biggest offender, as the Billikens lost to Texas A&M Corpus Christi and eked out a three-point victory over NC AT&T. Saint Joe’s lost their opener to Fairleigh Dickson and took a nasty fifty-two point beating on national TV against nationally ranked Gonzaga. Fordham, predictably, has managed to take some of the conference’s most egregious punches: dominated by Penn State and Maryland and beaten at home by Massachusetts-Lowell. George Mason has limped out of the gate as well, posting a 1-4 record and finishing last in the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
There, of course, have been some solid wins for the league. Gem City has two solid wins against Boston College and Texas A&M (the Aggies could be a very solid victory come March since the NCAA declared transfer Danuel House eligible for Billy Kennedy’s club late last week), VCU racked up W’s over Tennessee and Oregon and Rhode Island took down #21 Nebraska over the weekend.
The chart below is the league’s current breakdown and it isn’t pretty. The Atlantic Ten as a whole is just 1-5 against the RPI Top 50, 5-9 against the Top 100.
Granted, RPI, particularly at this stage of the season, is a rather flimsy indicator of the conference’s strength (for instance, the A10’s lone Top 50 win came as a result of La Salle’s victory over Quinnipiac, currently ranked 26 in the RPI — not exactly a win that will stand up over the season). Regardless, the A10 doesn’t seem to be passing the eye test right now — part of that is due to a lack of signature wins, while even a larger part can be attributed to the fact that much of the league’s out-of-conference tests are still ahead of it.
Here are some of the out-of-conference games of (varying) intrigue to watch over the next month:
Highlighted are the games against the New Big East, which may come in handy if you enjoy trolling Holy Land of Hoops. You’re welcome.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]
The Flames were absolutely abysmal last season, which is exactly why they were scheduled in the first place. Coached by Howard Moore, Illinois-Chicago comes to the Arena sporting a 2-4 record with a squad that was picked to finish near the cellar of the Horizon League.
Moore has racked up a 40-91 record while at the school, and I have no contextual clue how far on the “bad coach at UIC” scale this is. Illinios-Chicago seems like the type of place that keeps their head basketball coach as long as he doesn’t ask for fancy things like water bottles and shoelaces (Moore led the program to a CIT appearance in 2013, winning a game and advancing to the second round, which should be grounds for immediate enshrinement).
Until very recently, I used to think it was hard being a student/alum of a program like UD’s. Compare that to a place like UIC, where following the men’s basketball program is akin to self-flagellation. We could all live 150 years and likely never see UIC reach the Sweet Sixteen.
I believe in giving fan passes[ref]A fan pass being the idea that someone who attended a school like UIC is given a pass for primarily cheering for a different program. A homegrown example would be UD students opting to cheer for Ohio State football while completely ignoring Flyer Football. The only exception is Notre Dame football — only people that never attended college are permitted to use their fan pass on the Irish.[/ref] in very rare instances. UIC meets the criteria. I have absolutely no issue with UIC students/alums cheering for Illinois, Michigan State or Syracuse. Have at it. Wear sweatshirts from other universities with the utmost impunity.
Brown is the team’s most experienced player, built like a brick shithouse.
Jay Harris • G (6’1″/170) • GSr.
16.3 ppg, 41 % 3fg
Harris, a graduate transfer from Wagner (who started his career at Valpo), was suspended for the first three games of the season for a violation of school policy. Sounds like my type of guy, barely on campus and already held out of games. I bet he never gets that graduate degree, guys.
Coming off a redshirt season due to an ACL injury last season. Sweep the knee!
It’ll be interesting to see how Wiegand matches up down low with UD’s tall cupcakes. Wiegand is an effort guy, not a lot of tricks in his bag.
Hoping he was somehow named after Mark McGuire, only his parents “urbaned” up his first name.
Do a quick YouTube search on this kid, he can jump out of the building. He’s crazy quick with insane athleticism.
A JUCO transfer, comes off bench and gets starter minutes.
A garbage man with a lean body. Just what every girl dreams of.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Numbers Game[/title]
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[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]
This game will go almost exactly like the following clip:
Flyers win a laugher, 81-65. Get dat turkey, everyone.