Checking in on… the Atlantic 10Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2009
Joseph Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.
- George Washington (4-0)
- St. Louis (4-0)
- Rhode Island (3-0)
- Charlotte (4-1)
- Duquesne (4-1)
- Richmond (4-1)
- La Salle (3-1)
- Temple (3-1)
- Xavier (3-1)
- St. Bonaventure (2-1)
- St. Joseph’s (3-2)
- Dayton (2-2)
- Massachusetts (2-2)
- Fordham (1-3)
Games of Note
The First Big Test. November 17th saw seven A10 teams in action with four teams — Charlotte, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Temple — going against BCS schools. The results were…mixed. Surviving the night 4-3, the conference was 2-2 in squeakers and 2-1 in the blowouts — games decided by 10 or more points.
- St. Bonaventure camethisclose to knocking off St. John’s of the Big East on a neutral court (Rochester, NY). The Bonnies’ Andrew Nicholson took to the free throw line with 0:11 and gave St. Bonaventure a 1-point lead when he hit both free throws. The Johnnies’ Malik Boothe answered at the other end by hitting two FTs of his own on a Chris Matthews foul with 0:06 left. Michael Davenport’s three at the end did not drop, leaving St. Bonaventure on the short end of a 69-68 score.
- Temple nearly housed the Big East’s Georgetown before bowing 46-45. Down 15-27 with 16:58 to play, the Owls launched a 17-4 run to take the lead, 32-31, at the 12:12 mark of the second half. The Owls had another 7-2 spurt to push their lead to 39-33 with 6:53 remaining. Georgetown responded with a run of their own, overtaking the Owls to regain the lead, 41-39, with 5:12 left. Greg Monroe converted the go-ahead layup. The teams stayed within 2 points of each other, jockeying back-and-forth with the lead for the last 5 minutes. Temple forward Levoy Allen converted a layup of his own at the 4:31 mark to put the Owls back on top. Temple nursed that lead to the last minute, forcing the Hoyas to foul, stop the clock and put the Owls on the line to win. Ramone Moore missed the font end of a one-and-one at 0:23, giving the Hoyas the opening they needed to take the lead one last time. Hoya sophomore Greg Monroe converted another layup at the 0:04 mark.
- Duquesne downed Iowa of the Big Ten, 52-50, handing the Hawkeyes their (then) second loss of the season, and giving the conference a 1-3 mark against the BCS for the night.
- Saint Joseph’s christened their remodeled arena (Hagan Arena) with a 2 point win, 69-67, over the Crusaders of Holy Cross.
- The Charlotte squad dropped a road game to Duke, 101-59. Samari Spears may have had a good game, but it’s hard to put a bright face on a 42-point blowout.
- The evening’s last blowout, a 101-57 drubbing of MAC member Bowling Green, was administered by Xavier, one of 2-3 teams expected to challenge for the conference title this season.
St. Louis vs Nebraska (11/18/09) — The Billikens handed the Big 12 conference their first loss of the season as they downed the Cornhuskers by 14, 69-55, in St. Louis. Sophomore guard Kwamain Mitchell scored a game high 20 on 7-10 field goal shooting.
Dayton vs Gerogia Tech (11/19/09) — The Flyers opened the Puerto Rico TipOff by downing the Yellow Jackets by 4, 63-59. Saint Joseph’s (11/20/09) also downed Boston College of the ACC, 84-80, in the opening round of the Paradise Jam in Virgin Islands.
La Salle dropped their opening round game in the Charleston Classic, a 10 point 78-68,loss to SEC challenger South Carolina. The Explorers led the Gamecocks, who have been mentioned along with Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi (and Mississippi State) as a team to watch in the SEC this season, through much of the first half, yielding the lead with less than a minute to play before the break. Having relinquished the lead however, Ls Salle was unable to battle back.
After beating 21st ranked Georgia Tech in the first round of the Puerto Rico TipOff, Dayton could not get by 5th ranked Villanova of the Big East in the semifinals (11/20/09). The Flyers lost a game that went down to the last 2 minutes before falling 71-65. Dayton then dropped the 3rd place game (11/22/09) to unranked Kansas State of the Big 12, 83-75, ceding their place in the Top 25 and leaving Puerto Rico with a 2-2 record.
Saint Joseph’s started the Paradise Jam with a win over the ACC’s Boston College, but did not show well in the semifinals, as they dropped a 25-point decision to 7th ranked Purdue of the Big Ten, 85-60. The decision may have been anticipated, but the magnitude must have left an impression, as the Hawks dropped their next (and last) game at the Paradise Jam, 58-51, to DePaul, a team expected to struggle mightily in the Big East this season.
Bracket Buster in November?
A number of A10 squads took on their non-BCS counterparts early and often throughout the season’s first weeks. A handful may get a long(er) look come March when the Selection Committee is looking for tie-breakers.
Dayton vs Creighton (11/14/09) — The Flyers opened their season with a 10 point win, 90-80, over the MVC power Blue Jays.
Massachusetts vs Cornell (11/19/09) — The Minutemen had a great opportunity to get a leg up on the Ivy League power, but stumbled badly with a 13 point home loss to the Big Red.
La Salle vs Davidson (11/20/09) — The Explorers recovered from the first round stumble at Charleson by downing the Southern Conference power Davidson 84-70 in the Charleston Classic second round. The Explorers faced CUSA member Tulane in the 3rd place game, and beat the Green Wave by 2, 61-59, to leave Charleston with a 2-1 record (3-1 overall).
Rhode Island vs Holy Cross (11/22/09) — The A10 hung a second loss (Holy Cross is 0-4 overall) on the preseason favorite in the Patriot League. The Rams leading scorer was 2009 all-conference 6th Man, Delroy James, who scored 21 points on 9-13 shooting.
Richmond vs William & Mary (11/19/09) — The Spiders missed an excellent chance to establish a leg up on the CAA, but could not get it done against in-state rival William & Mary, dropping a 78-71 decision in Williamsburg. The Spiders overall sport a 3-1 record.
Defying expectations for a down season, George Washington started very strong, going 4-0 on wins over UNC-Wilmington (76-71 on the road), American East contender Boston University (69-59, also on the road), UMDBC (94-51) and Princeton (65-50).
Fordham stumbled out of the gate, going 1-3 in action so far. The Rams dropped two (Maine, 76-73 and Fairfield, 63-55 in Fairfield) before notching their first win, 76-66, over Sacred Heart.
The Conference Through Pomeroy’s Eyes
I have reproduced part of the Atlantic 10 Conference table from Ken Pomeroy’s website, and ordered the teams by their Pomeroy Rating. A reminder of how deceptive won-loss records can be, note that while both Xavier and St. Louis started 3-0, the Billikens’ three wins came against a stronger slate.
Looking ahead to next week, the early season invitational tournaments will pick up again during the Thanksgiving Weekend. Xavier will face a rebuilding Marquette (Big East) in their first round game at the Old Spice Classic on Thanksgiving Day. Friday will pit St. Louis and Iowa State (Big 12) in the first round of the Chicago Invitational; Temple and Virginia Tech (ACC) will clash in the semifinal round of the Philly Hoops Classic; Richmond will get an early season test against Mississippi State (SEC) in their semifinal for the South Padre Island Invitational; Massachusetts will get a crack at Rutgers (Big East) in their championship round clash of the Legends Classic in Atlantic City, NJ. George Washington will host Oregon State (PAC-10) on Saturday, even as La Salle visits Villanova (Big East) and Temple squares off against St. John’s in the championship round of the Philly Hoops Classic at the Palestra in Philadelphia. The action will heat up again Wednesday as Duquesne and Pittsburgh (Big East) will head downtown to the Mellon Arena to play for local bragging rights and St. Louis will travel to Athens, Ga. to face the Georgia Bulldogs (SEC).