Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on December 3rd, 2008

College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

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By CCT Staff | December 1, 2008

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Damian Saunders (So.), Duquesne
. Saunders enjoyed an excellent week, capped by an immense performance in one of the toughest environments in all of college basketball, where he scored 22 points and snared 10 boards in a loss at Duke.  It was his second performance recording at least 20 points and 10 rebounds on the week, as he filled the statsheet with 20 points and 12 boards earlier in a win over USC Upstate.  Saunders shot 16 for 25 from the field in the seven-day span, including a 4 for 9 effort from beyond the arc for the 6-foot-7 forward.

HONORABLE MENTION:
David Gonzalvez, (Jr.) Richmond; Chris Wright, (So.) Dayton.

(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday, given the release of ‘This Week in the A-10′ each Monday morning.)

GAME OF THE WEEK: November 29, 2008.  Dayton 89, (15) Marquette 75.

When your bench outscores an opponents’ bench 48-5, good things usually happen.  Such was the case for Dayton, as the Flyers backups led the upset of the fifteenth ranked Marquette Golden Eagles to claim the Chicago Invitational Challenge title.  While Tournament MVP Chris Wright (13 points, 13 boards) was solid as usual, it was Rob Lowery’s 21 points (career high) that stood out.  Chris Johnson also contributed with his first career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 boards.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: Rhode Island @ Providence: This battle is for bragging rights in the Ocean State, as the Rams take on their rivals from the Big East, the Friars.  The Rams (5-2) won last year’s contest held in Kingston, 77-60.  Providence (4-3), however, holds a 66-53 edge overall in the series.  The Rams will aim to stop Providence’s balanced offensive attack which features eight players that average at least 6.5 points per game.  The Friars look to frustrate the fast-paced Ram offense, currently averaging 81.1 points per contest.

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK: Dayton; RPI No. 19 (Up 156 spots from 175 last week):  As is evident, early season RPIs fluctuate greatly, but Dayton ensured its RPI continued in the preferred direction, maintaining a perfect record and knocking off a strong Marquette team in the procecss.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK:  Saint Louis; RPI No. 183 (Down 151 spots from 32 last week):  Two road losses and zero wins hurt the Billikens this week.  The loss at Nebraska (39) wasn’t a killer, but the same cannot be said for the loss to Detroit Mercy (209).
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Power Rankings (through November 30th, 2008)

  1. Xavier: Undefeated.  Three W’s against BCS teams.  Subdued tough Miami (OH) bunch.
  2. Dayton: Also perfect.  March resume’ win over fifteenth ranked Marquette.
  3. Rhode Island: Runner-up in Hoop Group Classic.  Only losses to Top 25 squads ‘Nova and Duke.
  4. Temple: Buffalo hiccup notwithstanding, Christmas is in mid-season form (24 points per game).
  5. Saint Joseph’s: Tough early schedule.  Nivins (18 points, 10.8 rebounds) has been outstanding.
  6. Richmond: Kevin Anderson showing no signs of sophomore slump.
  7. La Salle: Receiving balanced scoring; enabling the Explorers to hang with the likes of UConn and Florida State.
  8. Duquesne: Aaron Jackson and Damian Saunders have been sensational.
  9. Saint Louis: Loss to Detroit-Mercy hurt after nice win over Boston College last week.
  10. George Washington: Wilmore (12.0 points per game) is providing punch.
  11. St. Bonaventure: Took Miss. State to wire; coughed up winnable game against Canisius.
  12. UMass: Tony Gaffney has been great.  The dribble-drive… not exactly.
  13. Charlotte: Niners are floundering and confidence is suffering.
  14. Fordham: The young Rams are struggling early.

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CHARLOTTE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Nov. 27th vs. Arizona St. 84-56, Nov. 28th vs. Providence 67-62, Nov. 29th vs. Cal State-Fullerton 92-84 (OT)

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 6th @ Southern Illinois

Summary:  Things have gone from bad to worse in Charlotte, where the Niners dropped three contests this weekend in Anaheim to finish dead last at the 76 Classic.  In total, Charlotte has lost six straight contests, their longest losing streak since a string of 12 games in the ‘85-’86 season.

DAYTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 25th vs. Mercer 71-53, Nov. 28th vs. Auburn 60-59 (OT), Nov. 29th vs. (15) Marquette 89-75.  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 2nd vs. Troy, Dec. 6th @ Akron

SUMMARY:  Despite a game in which they set a record for three point shooting futility (0-24), the Flyers emerged from the Chicago Invitational Challenge with the hardware as they defeated fifteenth-ranked Marquette to win the title.  Chris Wright was named the tournament MVP, as he tallied 13 points and 13 rebounds in the final against Marquette.

DUQUESNE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 25th @ USC-Upstate 79-69.  LOSSES:  Nov. 28th @ Duke 95-72

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd @ (4) Pittsburgh

SUMMARY:  The Dukes went 1-1 in their swing through the Carolinas.  They found the going easier in Upstate South Carolina, but ran into a serious roadblock in Durham, NC in the form of the Duke Blue Devils.  They battle for bragging rights in the Steel City this week as they take on Pittsburgh.

FORDHAM

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  LOSSES:  Nov. 26th vs. Princeton 73-61, Nov. 29th vs. James Madison 73-53

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd @ Hofstra

SUMMARY:  The Rams dropped to 0-5 for the first time in the program’s 106 year history this week with consecutive home losses to Princeton and James Madison.  Freshman Jio Fontan has been one of the few bright spots on the Fordham season, as he averaged 15 points and five assists in the two games this week.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 26th @ UMBC 70-64.  LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 7th vs. Maryland

SUMMARY:  Noel Wilmore led the Colonials with 14 points in their win over UMBC.  Karl Hobbs’ squad has a long layover before they take the court again to face Maryland.

LASALLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 24th vs. Valparaiso 75-70 (OT).  LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 2nd vs. Bucknell, Dec. 6th @ Hartford

SUMMARY:  The Explorers finished off their trip to the Virgin Islands on a winning note, holding on to defeat Valparaiso in overtime.  After two close losses, LaSalle finished seventh in the Paradise Jam’s eight-team field.

MASSACHUSETTS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Nov. 24th vs. Jacksonville State 75-74, Nov. 29th @ Wisc. Green Bay 84-67

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd @ Toledo, Dec. 6th vs. Boston College

SUMMARY:  A rough week for the Minutemen as they went 0-2, losing a heartbreaker at home to Jacksonville St. despite Tony Gaffney’s 20-point, 13-rebound effort, and being soundly defeated on the road in Green Bay thanks in large part to their 29 turnovers.

RHODE ISLAND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 25th vs. Hartford 94-72, Nov. 28th vs. Penn St. 77-72.  LOSSES:  Nov. 29th vs. (22) Villanova 78-65.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd @ Northeastern, Dec. 6th @ Providence

SUMMARY:  Rhody made a nice run through the Philly Classic, which included knocking off previously unbeaten Penn State.  The hometown Wildcats proved to be too much for the Rams in the final, as URI lost to Villanova despite a 23 point effort from Jimmy Baron.

RICHMOND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 24th vs. Florida-Gulf Coast 69-58, Nov. 25th vs. UMKC 85-74, Nov. 30th vs. Coppin St. 78-67.  LOSSES:  Nov. 26th vs. Bradley 80-66.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd @ Old Dominion, Dec. 6th vs. Delaware St.

SUMMARY:  The Spiders ended a busy week on a positive note as they notched their third win in four games by defeating Coppin State on Sunday.  Earlier, Richmond tripped up Florida-Gulf Coast and UMKC, but dropped one to Bradley as part of the CBE classic.  David Gonzalvez was excellent, averaging 17.8 points in the four contests.

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 25th vs. Indiana 84-50.  LOSSES:  Nov. 24th vs. (6) Texas 68-50, Nov. 26th vs. Alabama 58-48.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 2nd @ Lehigh, Dec. 6th vs. Creighton

SUMMARY:  While Maui is usually a nice place to visit, it wasn’t all too pleasant for the Hawks.  Phil Martelli’s boys finished fifth in the eight-team field, with their only win coming against a very undermanned Indiana squad.  The play of Ahmad Nivins, now averaging a double-double (18 points, 10.8 rebounds), was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing tournament for Saint Joseph’s.

SAINT LOUIS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Nov. 25th @ Nebraska 71-57, Nov. 29th @ Detroit Mercy 62-57.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 2nd @ Southern Illinois, Dec. 6th vs. Savannah State.

SUMMARY:  Despite a furious rally in the final minutes, the Billikens were unable to complete a comeback against Detroit Mercy.  Saint Louis shaved an 11-point lead with 2:09 left down to just a point, but could never climb the mountain.  In earlier action against Nebraska, Brian Conklin led Saint Louis with 18 points and 6 boards in a losing effort.

ST. BONAVENTURE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Nov. 25th vs. Mississippi State 76-71, Nov. 29th vs. Canisius 68-66.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 6th vs. Princeton

SUMMARY:  “Finishing” will be the theme this week in Olean, as the Bonnies dropped two winnable games this week, each coming down to the final minutes, if not seconds.  The Bonnies registered losses despite being knotted with MSU with under two minutes to play and leading Canisius 66-61 with just 32 seconds remaining.

TEMPLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Nov. 29th @ Buffalo 83-73.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd vs. Miami (OH), Dec. 6th @ Penn State

SUMMARY:  Temple squandered a 12-point second half lead in a loss to Buffalo.  Missing Lavoy Allen due to a fractured thumb impacted the Owls’ on the glass, where they were beaten, 33-24.  Dionte Christmas poured in 25 in the losing cause.

XAVIER

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Nov. 29th vs. Miami (OH) 60-53.  LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 3rd vs. Auburn

SUMMARY:  The Muskies preserved their perfect record this week as they bested Miami (OH), led by Derrick Brown’s career-high 23 points.  Like their Ohio rival – Dayton – Xavier was ice cold from deep, shooting just 16.7% from behind the 3-point arc, but still got it done.

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