You visit this blog because you either A. love the Dayton Flyers or B. like another team in the Atlantic 10 Conference and like to keep an eye on what the old U of D is up to on the hardwood. This post is for both groups. While Blackburn puts in the research to prepare you for UD’s tilt against the Quakers tomorrow, I felt it was finally time that we did some additional homework to figure out what the hell is going on in the A10 now. All things at BBR are for the fans, obviously, but selfishly this post gives me a good excuse to take a deeper dive into our conference foes. A10 play is a mere 22 days away, so this is a perfect time to become familiar with who UD will need to worry about, and who will be providing the landmines at the bottom of the conference.
As a precursor to everything I am about to say, let’s lead with this: the A10 is an ugly mess of mediocre college basketball teams right now. Thirteen of the fourteen teams in the conference (through at least 7 games) have 3 or more losses. That should tell you everything you need to know. Let’s start with those who will be spending the season in the basement:
This team is fucking trash, top to bottom. Telling you just how bad the Spiders are this season was about 75% of the motivation behind this article. If you didn’t know (or didn’t care) the Spiders are 1-8 currently with their only win coming against the equally terrible UAB Blazers. It is not just the losing either, its HOW Richmond is losing. They started the year with a 13-point handling by Delaware, then followed it up by getting absolutely demolished by JACKSONVILLE STATE to the tune of 33 points…at home. Since that time, they have taken losses to Cincinnati by 27, Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgetown and Vermont all (strangely) were 6-point defeats, and then got pink-socked at the hands of Wake Forest (who is mediocre at best) by 29 before suffering their latest defeat to Old Dominion by 19. They’re 13th in the conference in scoring, dead last in rebounding and 2nd in turnovers (just to name a few stats, there’s more but you get the jist). Earlier today I made a statement that Richmond has an outside chance to be one of the worst A10 teams of the last decade. For your amusement, here are the 5 worst teams of the last 10 seasons:
2013 Duquesne 8-22 (1-15)
2012 URI 7-24 (4-12)
2011 Fordham 7-21 (1-15)
2010 Fordham 2-26 (0-16)
2009 Fordham 3-25 (1-15)
My bold prediction is that this Richmond team has a shot at challenging one of the Fordham teams for a spot in the top 5. Remember when VCU lost to Fordham? That was something.
Speaking of Fordham, they’re trash again, because they’re Fordham and that’s how history was written. Their wins this year are over Maine, Manhattan and Derek Kellogg’s LIU Brooklyn squad. They have a bunch of losses, including a 47-45 loss to Harvard in which the Bronx Rams scored 16 points in the second half. Fordham is undeniably the Browns of the A10. They deserve to be pitied. They are dead last in the conference in just about every offensive category that matters. They did beat VCU last year though, so that’s something.
Duquesne should honestly just be lumped together with Fordham for the sake of this season. They have beaten no one of worth and lost by double digits to a Pittsburgh team that is just all sorts of awful. The Dukes haven’t had a winning season since 2012, but things are looking better for the future, as their two leading scorers Mike Lewis and Eric Williams are underclassmen (So. and Fr. respectively) and their coach, Keith Dambrot, is in his first year after coming to the Bluff from Akron. The Dukes will most likely be competitive at the bottom this year and average next season. Anything less than 2-0 from UD will be a major disappointment.
I was conflicted of who to go with next as we ascend from the bottom, but UMass is a worthy choice. Coming off a season that saw them finish 12th in the A10 and resulted in the firing of head coach Derek Kellogg, the Minutemen have been competitive in all their losses except the 18-point drubbing to #14 Minnesota, putting them currently at 4-5. I’m not going to sit here and say UMass is going to be a threat this season, they won’t, but they will challenge almost every A10 team on a nightly basis. Sophomore Luwane Pipkins is in the early stages of turning into a star in this conference, and Rashaan Holloway is much like Kostas in that he’s been effective when not in foul trouble. If last year taught UD anything…watch out for UMass, February 3rd could easily be a repeat of last year.
I’m not sure what to make of La Salle just yet. They are led by the experience of senior BJ Johnson and Junior Pookie Powell, who combine for a nightly average of 37 points and 12 boards. After that? The cupboard is very thin. This year’s team is your classic Dr. John squad: play shitty, slow offense and keep the score low on the defensive side. Their lone “good” win is over Temple, but have bad losses to the likes of Towson and Drexel. Worth noting that they did squeak out a 2 OT thriller against Penn in their 2nd game. The saving grace to UD’s season is that they will not be making a trip to La Salle this season. God bless.
Going into this season, I was pretty sure people were blowing smoke up my ass regarding the Billikens, and so far, I was not wrong. SLU beat a talented team Va Tech team before dropping four straight to Providence, Detroit, Western Michigan and a 30 point ass kicking to Butler. They sit at 4-4 and are as mediocre as ever. They can’t shoot the 3 worth a shit (26%) and don’t have a scorer above 15ppg. Javon Bess, the transfer from Michigan State, has been leading the way in the scoring department, if for no other reason than SLU has similar problems to UD finding consistent buckets each night. They are destined for the middle of the conference, even in a down year.
Mason is another young team trying to find their identity coming off a bad year. They are in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories, and aren’t going to impress anyone with their defense. Mason has no wins of value and (like UD) took a sound beating to Auburn by 16. The encouraging part about the Patriots is their youth, as they currently have 0 seniors getting valuable minutes. GMU has 3 very winnable contests coming up, and a challenging game at home vs Penn State before conference play starts. If they walked into A10 play at 7-6 I think that would be expected at the very least. I feel safe assuming they put together another middle-of-the-pack finish.
Joes is a team I’m beginning to feel sympathy towards, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. With everyone healthy, it looked as though this Joes team was ready to turn the page from an abysmal year and really make some traction in the conference. One injury to Lamarr Kimble later and it feels as though Joes is right back into the average abyss that is the A10. With that said, Shavar Newkirk and James Demery have proved to be one of the best duos in the conference, accounting for almost half of the Hawks scoring on any given night. Their largely unimpressive wins have come against Princeton, UIC, Sacramento and Bucknell, while their losses have been mostly respectable: Washington St, Harvard, Toledo, Nova. I would expect Joes to be in the top half of the league but asking this team to challenge for the conference crown would be a stretch.
GW is once again paced by the unforgettable Yuta Watanabe, who is enjoying a great senior season thus far (14.8 ppg/7 rpg) to compliment sophomore Jair Bolden’s 14.8 ppg. While I think you’re starting to pick up on the theme of the article, GW has very little to impress on their resume aside from the fact that they held Princeton to 31 points over a full 40 minutes. Their losses have come to Florida State, Rider, Xavier and Kansas State, with the most impressive win coming against Temple (who I’m pretty sure isn’t that good this year?). In any case, GW is sitting at 5-4 with a tough stretch looming against Penn State, Miami, UNH and Harvard. They remain as one of the few A10 teams with the ability to still pick up a quality non-con win. Hard to say anything about this team yet other than they will probably finish in the top half of the A10.
My hatred of Davidson grows stronger by the year. It feels natural since Davidson is the richer, whiter, more pretentious version of UD. They are still led by Peyton Aldridge (21.7ppg, 7.1 rpg) after the departure of Jack Gibbs and UD will undoubtedly let him score 25+ again. As is customary for a Bob McKillop team, they still push the pace, shoot a lot and have the #1 scoring offense in the conference. They’re 3rd in 3pt shooting, 4th in FG %, and strangely get to the line less frequently than any other A10 team besides the lowly Spiders. Sitting at 4-3, the wins are unimpressive and the only loss that stands out is App State, with the others being Nevada and UNC. Davidson is currently enjoying a week off before traveling to Charlottesville to take on UVA. I am still trying to figure out why they only scheduled 9 non-conference games. If you know the answer to that, feel free to add in the comments.
Holy shit, if you’re still reading this you really wanted the full lowdown on A10 hoops, and mercifully, we have made it to the two teams that matter and have the best shot at dancing, starting with the Bonnies. For the first time in years, the Bonnies came into the season with legitimate tourney hopes on the mind, and faced the year’s biggest setback thus far, losing A10 POY-frontrunner Jay Adams to injury for the first 6 games. In those six games, they were able to put together a formidable 4-2 record, notably beating Maryland, before Jay Adams returned to help Bona beat Buffalo and Canisius. They have three cushy matchups at home before traveling to Syracuse to try and pick up a much-needed win to help their resume. If everyone stays healthy, Bonaventure is exactly the team we thought they would be. Unfortunately for UD, their trip to The Arena on January 3rd will also be a necessary win in building a tournament resume. They remain the only team in the A10 with less than 3 losses as of this writing.
They have been the conference front-runner since day one and haven’t really done anything to tarnish that stigma. URI has good wins against Seton Hall and in-state rival Providence, while their losses are all to quality teams: Alabama (road), UVA (neutral) and Nevada (road). As expected, Jared Terrell, Stan Robinson and Jarvis Garrett have carried the load for URI, while EC Matthews has been sidelined with a wrist injury. Rhodey expects Matthews to be back when conference play starts, and luckily for them they have 3 easy tune ups before December 30th. Expect the Rams to roll into A10 play at 8-3. Dan Hurley’s team will be the closest thing this conference has to a sure-fire tourney team. They remain the favorites to win it all until further notice.
That is all the teams in the Atlantic 10. Go Flyers. See you tomorrow.