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5 Question Friday: Discussing A-10 contenders, Buffalo’s ceiling, and more

Plus we talk Pittsburgh mid-majors and Fort Wayne’s bad rebrand.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Buffalo vs Kentucky Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully everybody enjoyed the holiday week despite the ungodly hot weather that’s plagued the country. Whether you’re enjoying an extended vacation or just trying to get through the rest of the day at your cubicle like me, it’s time for another edition of Five Question Friday.

If you missed the inaugural Five Question Friday, the concept is simple: every Friday, we’ll answer five questions about mid-major college basketball. This week, we turned to Twitter for the questions. Here’s what’s on the docket this week:

Everybody’s favorite multi-bid conference is due for a year with some fresh faces in the NCAA Tournament. With recent powers such as Rhode Island, VCU and Dayton looking to find their footing, it opens the door for different teams to take the throne. Davidson looks capable of returning to the NCAA Tournament, and the Wildcats are probably your safest bet. Operating under the assumption that the A-10 will be a multi-bid league again, you’re probably looking at two or three teams. If you’re a believer in the talent at Saint Louis like I am, you can make a case that they’ll be able to make it for the first time under Travis Ford. Here’s my official prediction as of 4:47 p.m. on July 5: Davidson, Saint Louis, and George Mason.

We could even include Pitt in this, since they’re essentially a mid-major at this point. Folks!

Anyway, this is tough question because they’re in two totally different situations. Duquesne has a newer coach who made great strides in his first year, but is part of a significantly tougher conference that regularly receives multiple bids. Robert Morris has a coach that has been with the school for a while now, and even took them to the tournament a few years ago. However, they’re in a one-bid league.

So it comes down to what you think happens first: does Keith Dambrot build the program into an A-10 contender, or does Andy Toole have a team good enough to win the NEC Tournament? Right now, it seems more likely that Robert Morris is ready to be a contender in its conference, and it could come as early as this season. I will go on the record as believing that the young talent on that roster will be enough to get Robert Morris into the tournament within the next two years.

Finally, something I’m qualified to speak on. As a Fort Wayne native with a lot of friends who ended up going to “The Dub,” the rebrand is bad. The color scheme is significantly worse, and everyone is still going to call it IPFW. Hell, even I still call it that, despite the change to Fort Wayne as the name for athletics, which happened over a year ago. Whatever. It’s just a shame that they’ll have to trot out in some ugly Purdue-esque uniforms instead of being able to don (pun intended) jerseys with a great blue, black and white color scheme.

Congrats to Saint Louis for making an appearance in back-to-back FQF’s (yes, this is the abbreviation we’re using). The Bilikens have the benefit of returning five players who started at some point last year, so there will probably be plenty of familiar faces getting some burn. The starting lineup will probably be Jordan Goodwin, Tramaine Isabell, Javon Bess, Hasahn French and DJ Foreman. Dion Wiley and Carte’Are Gordon might also get a shot at some point.

Buffalo’s best-case scenario probably plays out something like this:

  • They enter the season receiving a few top 25 votes.
  • In non-conference play, they prove they’re as good as advertised by taking down a Power 5 opponent or two.
  • In MAC play, they dominate. Something like 17-1 or even undefeated. They’re ranked in the Top 25 for a decent chunk of conference play.
  • They win the MAC tournament and enter the NCAA Tournament as an 11 seed or so with a record around 30-4.
  • For the second year in a row, they win their first round game. Then they do one better by winning another and advancing to the Sweet 16.
  • Nate Oats still stays.

So, that’s probably what Buffalo fans are hoping for next season.