You’ve been hearing it all year: The Atlantic 10 is down in 2018-19.
And it’s true. The league ranks 12th in the nation per KenPom, down from 10th last year and eighth each of the two years before that. That doesn’t mean, however, that the league is totally devoid of quality.
VCU is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, riding a 12-game winning streak and boasting the No. 1 overall seed at Barclays Center in the Atlantic 10 Tournament this week. The Rams are the only reasonable at-large candidate, but Davidson and Dayton are both talented enough to knock them off in a single game on a neutral court.
Fortunately for VCU, that would have to happen in the championship and the Rams should waltz there. Their first game will be against either a Rhode Island team that they beat by 34 three weeks ago or a La Salle team that is ranked below 200 in KenPom. Then, in the semifinals, VCU will likely have to play St. Bonaventure. To be fair, the Bonnies have been playing their best basketball of late, but VCU also defeated them by 30 in their lone meeting this season.
In the lower half of the bracket, a Davidson vs. Dayton semifinal could be the most interesting game of the tournament if it happens. Saint Louis underperformed this year but still has a talented roster and Saint Joseph’s has, um, uh, a Hawk.
(all times Eastern)
First Round: Wednesday, March 13, ESPN+
Game 1: No. 12 George Washington vs. No. 13 Massachusetts, 1 p.m.
Game 2: No. 11 Richmond vs. No. 14 Fordham, 3:30 p.m.
Second Round: Thursday, March 14, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: No. 8 Rhode Island vs. No. 9 La Salle, Noon
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. No. 5 George Mason, 2:30 p.m.
Game 5: No. 7 Duquesne vs. No. 10 Saint Joseph’s, 6 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 2 vs. No. 6 Saint Louis, 8:30 p.m.
Quarterfinals: Friday, March 15, NBC Sports Network
Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. No. 1 VCU, Noon
Game 8: Winner Game 4 vs. No. 4 St. Bonaventure, 2:30 p.m.
Game 9: Winner Game 5 vs. No. 2 Davidson, 6 p.m.
Game 10: Winner Game 6 vs. No. 3 Dayton, 8:30 p.m.
Semifinals: Saturday, March 16, CBS Sports Network:
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 1 p.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10, 3:30 p.m.
Championship: Sunday, March 17, CBS:
Game 13: Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 12, 1 p.m.