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2016-17 Atlantic 10 schedule: The five most intriguing games

Any game involving two of VCU, Dayton and Rhode Island will be must-watch, but there are plenty of other games to circle.

NCAA Basketball: VCU at Dayton
Dayton and VCU should challenge for the league title.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The A-10 released its schedule on Tuesday, and according to a league release, it’s a banner year for the conference, with a record 87 televised conference games.

With no disrespect to the Capital City Classic, Big 5 or anything involving Fordham’s Joseph Chartouny, here’s a first glimpse at five intriguing conference games.

  1. VCU at Dayton (March 4, Time TBD, CBSSN): The Flyers and Rams first meet at the Siegel Center on Jan 27., but the second meeting will be the second-to-last league game for both schools and could have major regular season title implications. They met just once last year, with Dayton picking up a one-point overtime win at home. Points will likely be hard to come by as both teams ranked in the top 22 in KenPom defensive efficiency in 2015-16.
  2. Rhode Island at Dayton (Jan. 6, 7 P.M. ET, ESPN2): Like the match-up above, this will be another one filled with star power among two preseason league favorites. E.C. Matthews, Hassan Martin, and the Rams get an early chance at a statement road win on the A-10 Friday night showcase.
  3. Davidson at George Washington (Jan. 5, 7.PM. ET, ESPNU): The league is full of talented seniors, but no two players will be asked to do more for their teams than Davidson’s Jack Gibbs and GW’s Tyler Cavanaugh. They’re probably the early favorites for the A-10 scoring title, and will meet twice in games that should be full of offense.
  4. UMass at La Salle (Feb. 1, TBD): This requires a leap of faith for both teams, which went a combined 23-40 in league play last year. But there’s the potential for a quick ascension for both, as Derek Kellogg brings in a great recruiting class (headlined by guard DeJon Jarreau) and Dr. John Giannini adds four high-major transfers. By early February, the fates of both teams will likely be apparent, but there will still be a month left to reverse course and cash in on the potential.
  5. St. Bonaventure at Davidson (Feb. 28, 7 P.M. ET, ASN): Call it a delayed shot at redemption. The Bonnies’ 14-4 conference recorded ended up not being good enough for an NCAA invitation last season. The Selection Committee’s final glimpse of the bubble team was a 90-86 overtime loss to Davidson in their A-10 tournament opener. This game comes nearly a year later, but could be important for two teams that should be among the league’s upper tier.