Joe Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Predicted Order of Finish
- Temple (14-2)
- Richmond (13-3)
- Xavier (13-3)
- Dayton (11-5)
- Rhode Island (9-7)
- Charlotte (9-7)
- St. Louis (9-7)
- Duquesne (7-9)
- George Washington (7-9)
- St. Bonaventure (6-10)
- Massachusetts (5-11)
- Saint Joseph’s (4-12)
- La Salle (3-13)
- Fordham (2-14)
All-Conference Team (key stats from 2009-10 in parentheses)
- G Tu Holloway, Xavier (31.9 MPG, 12.1 PPG, 3.9APG)
- G Kevin Anderson, Richmond (37.8 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 2.7 APG)
- F Damian Saunders, Duquesne (36.7 MPG, 15.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG)
- F Chris Wright, Dayton (28.6 MPG, 13.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
- F Lavoy Allen, Temple (34.5 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG)
Aaric Murray, La Salle (12.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.3 BPG)
SG Daniel West, Rhode Island (transfer from Pensacola State College)
A-10 Conference All-Rookie Team
- G Juwain Staten, Dayton
- G/F Jay Canty, Xavier
- F Maxie Esho, Massachusetts
- F C.J. Aiken, Saint Joseph’s
- F/C Rob Loe, St. Louis
What You Need to Know
The conference, identified by Kyle Whelliston of the Mid-Majority blog as neither above nor below “The Red Line,” sent half of its conference members to post season tournaments last March. Three (Richmond, Temple and Xavier – one more than the Pac-10 Conference) went to the NCAA Tournament, while two each went to the NIT (Dayton and Rhode Island) and the CBI (St. Louis and George Washington). Xavier, seeded #6 in the West Region, advanced to at least the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in three postseasons, losing to Kansas State in a two-overtime game, 101-96. Rhode Island was eliminated in the NIT semifinals, while Dayton beat North Carolina 79-68, to win the NIT. St. Louis lost the CBI finals series 2-0 to Virginia Commonwealth.
Reigning A-10 POY Kevin Anderson returns for Richmond, but will he get the Spiders over Temple?
The Predicted Champion
Temple (NCAA Seed: #4). Coach Fran Dunphy brings back 66% of the Owls’ 2009-10 minutes and 70.3% of the scoring of the team that tied Xavier for the regular season title and won the A-10 Conference Tournament outright. The 2009-10 season ended on a down note, but the casual fan could not tell from the raft of 2010-11 season previews that place the Owls in the Top 25 – 30, usually at the head of the A-10 contingent.
Dunphy returns three starters and a solid rotation. Juan Fernandez (31.6 mpg, 12.6 ppg, 3.6 apg), a 6’4 180 pound point guard, who started his freshman season late but made huge strides last season, earned an All A-10 Honorable Mention and Conference Tournament MVP award last March. He dished a team-high 122 assists and yielded a 24.4% assist rate, ranking #254 in Ken Pomeroy’s Top 500 assist leaders. Junior Ramone Moore (18.0 mpg, 7.6 ppg, 1.5 apg), sophomore T.J. DiLeo (6.4 mpg, 1.1 ppg), freshman Aaron Brown, a 6’4, 185 pound gunner out of St. Benedict’s in New Jersey, along with sophomore Rahlir Jefferson (16.6 mpg, 3.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and junior Scootie Randall (7.0 mpg, 1.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg) will compete for starts at #2 and #3 spots vacated by glue guy Ryan Brooks and 2009-10 starter Luis Guzman.
Returning starter senior power forward Lavoy Allen (34.5 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and 6’11, 225 pound junior center Michael Eric (15.7 mpg, 5.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), will anchor the frontcourt. Eric is a raw talent who will need to cut down on his fouls if he wants to log significant minutes this season. Allen was voted to the 2009-10 All A-10 First Team and subsequently invited to play on Team USA’s Select squad last summer that prepped the USA Men’s Team. Graduate transfer (Monmouth University) Dutch Gaitley, Craig William sand freshman Anthony Lee round out the front court rotation, though Williams is rehabbing from a right foot injury.
The conference schedule maker was kind to Dunphy, matching the Owls with three mirror opponents (Fordham, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s) who sported a collective conference record of 9-39 last season, the poorest for any set of mirror opponents. All three recruited good talent over the spring and summer months, but if the Owls focus, they shouldn’t have much trouble in disposing of those three teams. The Owls may have road rendezvous with Dayton and Xavier (Saturday 2/12 and Saturday 1/22 – mark the dates), but will host their biggest rival, Richmond (Thursday 2/17). Read the rest of this entry »