Ask and you shall receive. After many of you slid in the DMs to ask about more content this season, I figured a few cancelled meetings on a Friday was the perfect time to write the first A-10 roundup of the year. During the non-con schedule, while Blackburn and Nate are busy with recons, Mr. Vines and myself are going to deliver some knowledge about what the rest of the league is up to while our Dayton Flyers are out handling their business. Our goal of making you an informed fan base rages on, we’re in this together. Once a week seems reasonable until UD’s tilt with LaSalle on December 30th and, with exactly one week of the college bball season in the books, here we are. Of course if you want MORE A10 content, head over and see our friends at http://www.a10talk.com. They would love to have you.First, let’s start with the good, then get to the bad. Five teams currently sit unblemished at this early stage in the season: GW, Rhodey, St. Joes, VCU, and of course, your Gem City Cagers.
The Colonials survived two scares against lesser competition this week, beating UMES by 4, and escaping Siena by 2. Then, finally, GW enjoyed dishing out a good beat down to Arkansas-Pine Bluff last night, 61-41, in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. We will be finding out initially how good (or bad) GW is in a few days. They travel to KC to finish up their early season tourney on Monday against Georgia, and the winner will most likely meet Kansas on Tuesday. If GW does end up drawing KU, fans of the A10 will definitely want to tune in. Quick glance at the stats shows me that Tyler Cavanaugh is doing the damn thing on his own, averaging 18pts/9reb through the first 3 games, with a little help from Yuta Watanabe (11.7pts/6.7reb).
Next up is the team that will undoubtedly be the proverbial pain in the Flyers ass this season: #21 Rhode Island. Through the first 3 games at least, it is fair to quote the late Dennis Green in saying, “They are who we thought they were.” Rhodey dispatched Dartmouth in their opener by 23, then scored ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN POINTS against an undoubtedly terrible Marist team (I’m guessing). Wednesday night they finally got a test from Brown, but were able to walk away with a 7-point win. Unsurprisingly, EC Matthews has been outstanding, scoring 17, 22 and 21 respectively. His defensive-minded counterpart Hassan Martin has been equally impressive, putting together two double-doubles, and recording 15 blocks to start the year. If a few cupcakes aren’t enough to convince you of Rhodey’s capabilities just yet, you’re in luck, they’re set to take on #24 Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon while we are in the Decibel Dungeon watching our boys.
St. Joe’s only played two games this week: a squeaker against Toledo they won 77-76, and a thrashing of Columbia College by a bunch, to put them at 2-0. With the departure of reigning A10 POY DeAndre Bembry, junior guard Shavar Newkirk has picked up the slack, dropping 28 on Toledo and 17 against Columbia. The prognosticator in me thinks this guy will be a problem for the entire A10 come January, we’ll see. As I am writing this post they are in a first round game in the Paradise Jam (in the Virgin Islands, lucky bastards) against Loyola Chicago, with potential matchups against Ole Miss, NC State or Creighton looming. The full bracket can be found here if you’re curious or don’t have anything better to do today/tomorrow than watch college hoops.
VCU has given us very little to talk about in regards to their 2-0 start so far. They beat UNC-Asheville by 15, then Liberty by 5. They host a baby soft Binghamton team tonight in Richmond, and hopefully they will be able to notch a big win for the A10 on Tuesday against Baylor at home. Linebacker-turned-basketball player Mo Allie Cox is still playing for the Rams, and he’s been doing just about everything you would expect through two games. Nothing to see here so far. Tune in on Wednesday night for your first good look at VCU, game is on ESPN2.
Behind the A10 top 5, the rest of the league is either 2-1 or 1-1, I’ll go down the standings in the order they appear on ESPN.
SLU got absolutely annihilated in their opener against Ball State 85-64, mainly due to the fact that they scored 19 total points in the first half. That doesn’t sound like SLU does it? Also Ball State has a kid named Franko House who scored 23 on SLU, it’s not really relevant but I wasn’t going to write about that game without including this stellar name. SLU will not be good this season, bet the farm on it. They beat Southern Utah by 12 and then had to come back from an early deficit to beat Eastern Illinois. Yikes.
Duquesne beat Loyola MD to start the year and then split their annual games against Penn State (L) and St Francis (W) to make them 2-1. They host the Canisius College Golden Griffins this evening, and then will travel to Lexington on Sunday night to take an inevitable pulverizing from John Calipari’s Cats that will likely resemble a dunk contest more than an actual basketball game.
At this juncture in the season I’m most intrigued by UMass. They started the year with a regional buy-game against UMass Lowell, then dropped a close one to Ole Miss 90-88, and followed that up by beating a solid Temple team 70-67. They have been paced by the play of their freshman guard Dejon Jarreau, who put up an impressive 15pts/5reb/6.ast per game through three contests. Put him in as my early pick for Freshman of the Year in the conference. UMass has a pretty cushy schedule coming up, before traveling to Providence to play Kyle Davis’ favorite bball team in Rhode Island. *winks to Kris Dunn*
Davidson is Davidson. Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge are scoring all the Cats points once again, and their defense is, um, not good. They beat App State last week by 12, and then gave up 95 points to Clemson yesterday. Surprisingly, they bounced back quite nicely in Orlando this afternoon to hold Missouri to 55 points in a 15-point win. By the time you read this they will know their next opponent in the tourney UD was in last year. Winner of Arizona State-Tulane will get the Wildcats. While we all expected Gibbs to do his thing, Peyton Aldridge has actually been more impressive. Recording 31 and 22 in the first two games, and then adding another 21 this afternoon.
George Mason, La Salle, Fordham, Richmond and Bonaventure are all 1-1, for the sake of article length, here’s the highlights:
George Mason lost their opener to Towson and then beat some D2 or D3 school I had to look up. They don’t really have a quality opponent on their non-con schedule, you can probably guess why.
Bonaventure is a bit of a mystery thus far. They won the opener against St. Francis then lost a close one to Florida. The Bonnies don’t really have a marquee game on their non-con schedule, and history tells us that’s going to be bad news for them come March. What we do know is that Matt Mobley is going to be one of the best scorers in the country, and Jaylen Adams will be his primary supporter. If you ever want to know more about the Bonnies, noted friend of BBR Ian Nolan runs a tight ship over at http://thebonablog.com.
La Salle lost their opener to Temple by 5, then beat the other UD by 6. As is customary, they will get their crack at the top dog in Philly when they play ‘Nova at the Palestra on December 6th. Jordan Price is still on the team and is still scoring a lot, just FYI.
Richmond won their opener against VMI before dropping a close one to Old Dominion this week. ShawnDre Jones and TJ Cline led the charge for the Spiders again. The two of them have scored 65% of Richmond’s points through two games. They host Robert Morris on Sunday, and face a giant test next Friday against Maryland in the 4 team Barclays Center Classic.
Lastly is Fordham, because Fordham is always last. They got absolutely crushed by ETSU and then won against a Technology Institute, they don’t play anyone noteworthy in the non-conference and will continue to be a non-factor in the A10 until the sun blows up.
Alright, that’s all I got. Bring all your newfound knowledge to The Arena tomorrow, and for God’s sake, be LOWD.