They say something worth having is worth waiting for.
I can’t say that these A-10 rankings are worth having, but they certainly aren’t timely. Through five weeks the league has seen injuries (Hassan Martin, Josh Cunningham), shocking upsets (Duquesne owns Pittsburgh!) and an eight-game winning streak out of nowhere.
And while we’re at it, here’s something else to argue about. I’ll hand my “Mid-Major Madness A-10 MVP Through An Arbitrarily-Picked Out Day in December” to George Mason’s Marquise Moore, the best rebounding guard in the country (35.4 MPG, 17.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.6 APG). He gets his very own Twitter embed.
Last week, Marquise Moore of @MasonMBB had a triple-double. Now he has an #A10MBB Player of the Week award too: https://t.co/KwCq4u7y2A pic.twitter.com/AXNzz6dlvD— Atlantic 10 MBB (@A10MBB) December 12, 2016
Here’s a stab at figuring it all out:
|Dayton||7-2||Quietly, the Flyers have beaten four straight quality Div. I teams. Kendall Pollard has been a “big” addition since returning on Dec. 3 (12.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG).|
|Rhode Island||6-4||URI fans might have “here we go again” frustration after Hassan Martin’s injury. No bad losses, but the Rams fell yet again in a tight game at Houston. The at-large hope isn’t dead but it’ll take a strong run through A-10 play to keep it breathing.|
|VCU||7-3||A good bounceback win over ODU leads into a difficult game against red-hot MTSU on Saturday. The Blue Raiders force plenty of turnovers, which has been an issue for VCU. JeQuan Lewis has been lethal from outside (30-63 3FG).|
|Davidson||5-3||The Wildcats’ reward for putting a scare in UNC? A date with Kansas on Saturday. Davidson has defended better than it has in years and doesn’t have a bad loss. And surprise, surprise, it looks like Bob McKillop found a gem in Jon Axel Gudmundsson.|
|St. Bonaventure||6-3||Only Florida and Little Rock have contained the Bonnies’ offense. The last-second loss to a good UNCW team stings. Jay Adams and Matt Mobley will need to build an NCAA resume entirely in A-10 play.|
|La Salle||4-4||Losing to Georgetown after playing Villanova tough was a disappointment. B.J. Johnson (18.0 PPG, 45.5 3FG%) has been the player Syracuse fans had expected. The Explorers’ leaky defense contends with a good FGCU team on Saturday.|
|George Mason||9-3||The biggest contrast from preseason expectations. Patriots are riding an eight-game winning streak, including four KenPom top-187 wins. Otis Livingston has two turnovers over his past 132 game minutes.|
|UMass||6-3||Derek Kellogg wasn’t lying, the Minutemen have played fast and caused havoc with a deeper roster. The ceiling is still uncertain, and very much tied to the development of DeJon Jarreau and Luwane Pipkins.|
|George Washington||7-4||Beating Temple on the road without Yuta Watanabe was impressive. Young bigs (Collin Smith, Arnaldo Toro) spark hope the Colonials will be a tougher out as the season progresses. Smith has been especially effective when he avoids foul trouble.|
|Richmond||5-4||As expected, the Spiders are utterly-dependent on two excellent players (T.J. Cline, ShawnDre’ Jones). Frantic rally to beat UMBC means they can still claim no bad losses. Might not have an NCAA feel, but the NIT is a real possibility.|
|Saint Joseph's||4-4||The Hawks don’t have the horses, especially after James Demery went down. The good news? They’re young and Shavar Newkirk (21.1 PPG) is back next season.|
|Fordham||5-6||Unlike last year, the Rams haven’t taken advantage of an easy schedule. They’re mired in a five game losing streak and desperately miss Ryan Rhoomes’ presence down low.|
|Duquesne||5-6||Turnovers have plagued an inconsistent Dukes’ offense. This should improve as sophomore Tarin Smith and freshman Mike Lewis II gain experience. Can’t take the Pitt win away from them.|
|Saint Louis||3-6||It’s been ugly (especially on offense), but we knew it would be. The Billikens scored .076 points per possession in a 45-43 win over Chicago State. This was one of the good days.|