The Atlantic 10 Tournament kicked off in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night with a pair of opening round games. Action continues today with four more games that will set the tone for the weekend. This conference probably has more on the line that any other conference tournament in the country.
Depending on the results of this weekend, the A10 can probably have anywhere from two to five bids into the NCAA Tournaments. Chris Dobbertean's most recent bracketology had four A10 squads dancing but it's going to be an uncomfortable weekend on the bubble now that Valparaiso, Monmouth, Wichita State, and St. Mary's all have their fate resting in the hands of the selection committee.
Here is a look at each team with a shot at a bid and what they need to do in Brooklyn:
Dayton was able to close out Richmond and VCU last week to claim the A10 regular season title. While the Flyers didn't have the best February, Dobbertean has them solidly in at a seven seed. Archie Miller's squad is a 99% lock at this point but tripping up against the Spiders or Fordham on Friday could make for an uneasy weekend. Regardless, the Flyers are in the best shape of any A10 squad.
#2 VCU Rams
Dobbertean has VCU as part of his last four in and facing off with Wichita State in the First Four, how awesome would that be? We've chronicled how the Rams missed many opportunities in non-conference play but have rebounded since with their A10 slate. They missed another resume booster last week failing to knock off Dayton in overtime but the Rams still have a good chance of dancing under new head coach Will Wade. If the tournament shakes out right this weekend then you could see a series of virtual play-in games in Brooklyn. For VCU that would likely come Saturday against St. Bonaventure, another squad squarely on the bubble.
Dobbertean also has St. Bonaventure in the last four in and is endorsing more mid on mid crime in Dayton with the Bonnies facing off against Monmouth. St. Bonaventure's profile is only slightly better than VCU's at this point, but that really depends on who you ask. The Bonnies could get a tricky matchup with Davidson on Friday and then have that aforementioned play-in game brewing versus VCU. There is nothing but heartbreak and opportunity in Brooklyn this week.
#4 Saint Joseph's Hawks
Despite their lower seed than VCU and St. Bonaventure, St. Joe's seems to be sitting a little more safely after completing the regulars season. Phil Martelli's squad had an abysmal final week but Dobbertean still has them as a #9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks HAVE TO get past a likely match up with George Washington tomorrow to feel good about their situation. If they fall to the Colonials then it'll be a tense weekend in Philly.
Mike Lonergan's squad has the A10's most impressive win this season (Virginia) and has looked brilliant at times this year. The Colonials have been a bit inconsistent though and that's why Dobbertean has them in his "next four out". GW needs a big weekend in Brooklyn but they have the roster and the opportunities likely against St. Joe's and Dayton to build their resume. Friday's potential matchup with St. Joe's could be another virtual play-in game like we mentioned before.
Davidson has definitely dropped out of the at-large picture but the Wildcats are still dangerous with Jack Gibbs. They likely would have opportunities against St. Bonaventure and VCU if they got hot and that would certainly start to turn a few heads on the selection committee. Without a miracle run there is no way Bob McKillop is dancing again.