With the 2015-16 season on the horizon, a few members of the Mid Major Madness staff got together to chat about the upcoming season for the Atlantic 10 conference and how things might shake out. The conference has experienced a great deal of success over the last few years and looks like it could have even more this year.
Due to the length of the conversation, the comments have been split up into a series of posts that will be on the site over the next week. Today, we look at potential NCAA Tournament teams in next year's Atlantic 10.
Q: How many Atlantic 10 teams make this year's NCAA Tournament?
Thomas Beindit: Obviously, the NCAA Tournament picture is always a moving target with so many teams and conferences vying for bids, but as of now, I would say three A10 teams will make the field. Still, having said that, I think it would be more accurate to say it will be in the range of two to five teams depending on how things unfold. To me, Dayton and Rhode Island have the best odds with VCU close behind. I think Davidson and Richmond could make some noise, but without the bottom of the conference improving significantly or one of those top teams falling, it will be tough to get enough in the RPI and enough big wins to qualify.
Andrew Padyk: I'm going to say three teams from the conference are going to make the NCAA Tournament this season and a fourth team will be a bubble team but unfortunately be on the outside and heading to the NIT. Who it will be? Will be left to be seen once the season unfolds, but my early NCAA picks are Dayton, Davidson, and Rhode Island heading to the NCAA and George Washington being a the bubble team that will be heading to the NIT.
Ryan McFarland: I wanna say four but am going to say three. Rhode Island, Davidson, and George Washington are my picks to make the tourney this year. Rhode Island is primed for a great year and are ready to make the jump after narrowly missing the dance last year. Davidson will continue their success from last year and George Washington has the pieces to make it back to the NCAA tournament. I wanted to say Dayton but that is dependant on what comes from the Dyshawn Pierre situation. I'm not saying they can't make it without him because I don't doubt Archie after last year but Pierre is the most versatile player in the league and losing him is a huge blow. If he plays I'm going with four, but my gut tells me he won't.
Parks: I'm going with four. Dayton, VCU, and Rhode Island are my locks and Davidson or Richmond will sneak in as well. So much comes down to that last weekend in Brooklyn for the A10. Archie Miller will find a well no matter what happens with Pierre. VCU has a nice out-of-conference slate that will put them in good position in March with a signature win or two. Finally, Rhode Island has the best roster in the A10 and it's time for the Rams to breakthrough.
Davidson's non-conference schedule is just too weak in my eyes. It's full of Southern Conference opponents and includes a non-Division I team. I don't know if the Wildcats can take down North Carolina or Cal on the road and beating Pitt on a neutral court won't be overly impressive.
Let us know your thoughts on NCAA Tournament teams for this year's Atlantic 10 in the comments below.