Written by: Ryan Cunningham
All 14 teams in the conference will converge into our nation’s capital starting today to see who will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The games will be played at Capital One Arena, formerly known as the Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards. This should be a very interesting tournament, knowing how the regular season went. One thing that was learned over the course of the regular season was to never be shocked at any outcome that happened. Richmond beat Davidson twice, St. Joe’s went on the road and pummeled Rhode Island, George Mason won three games in a row on buzzer beaters from the same player, etc. It goes on and on.
Let’s talk a little bit about what’s to come in the tournament. Though they lost their last two, Rhode Island, in my opinion, is the clear favorite to win. They are ranked #25 in the country and have the deepest roster. It is essential to have good bench play in this tournament because of the fatigue players go through. For example, a team like UMass has to win five games in five days to win the championship. That’s tough because they only play six guys. Rhode Island, right off the bat, has a clear cut advantage when it comes to guys getting rest, due to the fact that they are so deep. Fatts Russell and Cyril Langevine have been great for the Rams off the bench. They would be starters on almost any other team. Another team that teams should be worried about is St. Bonaventure. They have won their last 12 games, leading them to a 14-4 finish. Any other year, they would’ve finished first if it wasn’t for Rhode Island’s historic season. They have one of the best backcourts in the country in Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. Never underestimate good guard play, especially these two snipers. Davidson is another team that should not be overlooked. They are coming off a thrilling win over Rhode Island at home. If Davidson and St. Bonaventure win in the quarterfinals, these two teams will meet again. The last time they met, the game went into triple overtime in Olean. I’m sure college basketball fans wouldn’t mind these two teams facing each other again. Check out the tournament’s bracket:
First Round (3/7):
6PM: #13 UMass vs #12 La Salle on Stadium Sports
In what should be a high scoring matchup, these teams will open up the A-10 tournament tonight. After losing six in a row, UMass is coming off a tough home win over Duquesne on senior night. La Salle is coming off a loss over St. Joe’s, but have won two of their last three. The last time these two teams met, La Salle won by 15. Before that, UMass won in OT so these teams are evenly matched. Both teams have limited benches so expect the starters to produce a lot. This should be a good one.
8:30PM: #14 Fordham vs #11 George Washington on Stadium Sports
This is pretty much a road game for Fordham. George Washington will likely have a hometown crowd because their campus is in Washington D.C. Fordham is coming off six losses in a row and will look to turn things around. George Washington has won four of their last six, but is coming off a loss at Dayton on senior night. The last time these two teams met, GW won by 16 points.
Second Round (3/8):
12PM: #9 Dayton vs #8 VCU on NBCSN
Usually these teams are fighting for the championship on Sunday but because of down years, they’ll be facing off in the second round. The first time these teams met in Dayton, the Flyers shot the lights out, winning by 27. Most recently when they met in Richmond, VCU won in overtime. This rivalry game is a must watch.
2:30PM: #13 UMass/#12 La Salle vs #5 George Mason on NBCSN
George Mason, who has won five of their last seven, has to wait until the conclusion of the UMass/La Salle game to see who they are up against.
6PM: #10 Duquesne vs #7 Richmond on NBCSN
This one should be interesting. Duquesne is coming into the tournament having lost six out of seven. Richmond is coming in with two straight wins. They scored 90+ points in both wins. Richmond’s starting five is one of the best in the league, and they are dangerous. The last time these two teams met was back in January where the game went into overtime, with the Spiders being the victor.
8:30PM: #14 Fordham/#11 George Washington vs #6 Saint Louis on NBCSN
Saint Louis will have to wait until Fordham/George Washington is complete to see who they will face up against. The Billikens are coming off of two tough losses, but previously winning three out of four.
12PM: #9 Dayton/#8 VCU vs #1 Rhode Island on NBCSN
Rhode Island, who is currently ranked #25 in the country, is coming off two straight losses after securing the regular season championship. They will need to get it going.
2:30PM: (#13 UMass/#12 La Salle vs #5 George Mason) vs St. Joseph’s on NBCSN
After losing five games in a row at one point, St. Joe’s roared back to win six of their last seven to secure the #4 seed and a double-bye. It is remarkable what they pulled off. George Mason vs St. Joe’s would be an incredible matchup.
6PM: #10 Duquesne/#7 Richmond vs #2 St. Bonaventure on NBCSN
As I said above, St. Bonaventure has won their last 12 games. There is no hotter team in the country right now than them. I think they have an at-large bid secured for them right now, but they would like an auto-bid just in case.
8:30PM: (#14 Fordham/#11 George Washington vs #6 Saint Louis) vs #3 Davidson on NBCSN
Davidson is hot coming into the tournament, having won five of their last six. A double-bye was essential for them because their bench is limited due to injuries. The Wildcats are in a very good spot. A St. Bonaventure matchup for Davidson is a college basketball fan’s dream. It may very well happen. We will see.
I will be in Washington D.C. on Friday for the A-10 tournament so game-by-game results can be seen on the Wingspan Twitter page. Also, I will be writing day-by-day analysis here on the website at night. It should be a fun tournament. HERE. WE. GO.