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A-10 Power Rankings: Where are the quality wins?

Also: Jaylen Adams needs some appreciation.

NCAA Basketball: St. Bonaventure at Dayton David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

As promised, it didn’t take another five weeks to get version two of the power rankings.

The problem is that with so little happening over the past seven days, it’s hard to reshuffle the board that much. VCU jumps URI because of its win over a very good MTSU team, but that’s just semantics.

The only other change is Duquesne jumping Fordham, mainly because Tarin Smith and Mike Lewis are becoming a backcourt foundation for Jim Ferry. But kudos to the Rams for snapping a six-game skid Wednesday night against Central Connecticut.

A-10 Power Rankings, through 12/21

Team Record Previous
Team Record Previous
1. Dayton 8-3 1
2. VCU 8-3 3
3. URI 7-4 2
4. Davidson 6-4 4
5. St. Bonaventure 8-3 5
6. La Salle 5-4 6
7. George Mason 9-3 7
8. UMass 8-3 8
9. GW 8-4 9
10. Richmond 6-5 10
11. St. Joe's 5-5 11
12. Duquense 6-6 13
13. Fordham 6-7 12
14. Saint Louis 4-7 14

So you don’t feel short-changed, here are some general A-10 thoughts:

An underwhelming non-con?

Will Wade didn’t mince words after VCU beat red-hot MTSU last Saturday.

“This will be our best win on Selection Sunday, no matter who else we beat. Period,” said Wade. “It may be a top-25 win. It’ll for sure be a top-50 win.

Is it also the A-10’s best win? It might be closer than you think. Here’s how I’d rank the league’s best non-con wins thus far:

  • URI over Cincinnati (Nov. 19)
  • Duquesne over Pitt (Dec. 2)
  • VCU over MTSU (Dec. 17)
  • Dayton over Alabama* (Nov. 15)
  • Dayton over ETSU (Dec. 10)
  • George Mason over UNI* (Nov. 30)
  • GW over Temple* (Dec. 7, road)
  • UMass over Temple (Nov. 17)

Now, there haven’t been rampant opportunities for statement wins, and no one is going to fault URI for losing to Duke, or Davidson for dropping games against UNC or Kansas.

But the league has failed to win some games it should expect to win. Here are some examples: Richmond falling at home to Wake Forest, GW losing to Georgia and UAB in the CBE Classic, Davidson coughing up a halftime lead at the College of Charleston, VCU losing to Georgia Tech at home, Dayton falling behind big to Northwestern at the United Center, and so on.

The sky isn’t falling. But it’s also not as blue and sunny as many expected.

Appreciating Jaylen Adams

After St. Bonaventure downed Army, Mark Schmidt said that he didn’t think Jaylen Adams would be “this good” when he recruited him. And he is this good.

The smooth, instinctual guard scored 31 points on (incredibly) seven-of-12 shooting against the Black Knights. Those type of nights have been common. Adams is leading the A-10 in scoring (23.5 PPG) and is remarkably third in effective field goal percentage (59.6%) despite shouldering a huge load.

He anchors - along with Matt Mobley - a Bonnies offense that has shot well from all areas of the floor, and has really only been contained twice (in losses to Florida and Little Rock). We’ll see if it’s good enough to get St. Bonaventure into the NCAA conversation. The Bonnies open A-10 play with a difficult, yet manageable, stretch against UMass, Dayton and George Mason.

Davidson’s steep at-large hill

Kansas and North Carolina would probably tell you that Davidson is good.

But the problem with the Wildcats’ top-heavy schedule was that they needed to pick off a titan to build at-large momentum. That didn’t happen, and while you can’t blame them for losses to the Jayhawks, Tar Heels and Clemson, the marquee win column is still barren.

Their fourth loss is another forgivable one, on the road against a good College of Charleston team. Their best win? Arizona State on a neutral floor, or Mercer on the road if you want to stretch it. So another good Bob McKillop squad will need to run through A-10 play at something like 14-4 to get in the conversation. There’s no saying they can’t do it, especially if Jordan Watkins or Will Magarity become more consistent scoring threats.

That’s just a lot of pressure in two short months.

St Joe’s scoring woes

One stat sums up how uber-reliant the Hawks are on Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble.

St. Joe’s has played 10 games this season, yet players other than Newkirk or Kimble have scored in double figures just seven times. This includes an 11-point performance from James Demery in the season opener, in which he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot. He’s been sidelined ever since.

Freshman Charlie Brown has been a bright spot, but Phil Martelli desperately needs a third consistent scoring threat to emerge. The good news? A competitive A-10 season seems possible with some development. St. Joe’s had a solid win against Princeton last week, though they followed it up with a loss on the road against an athletic Illinois State team.