Before the season began, we had dreams of five, six or seven teams coming out of the Atlantic 10. The problem with that is reality set in and they are looking at three or four. The age old question comes up now of whether or not it’s good basketball play or a lot of mediocrity going up against itself.
The picture of consistency in this league is Butler. The Bulldogs are 17-3 and have one conference loss, which came to LaSalle in Philadelphia. They have a tough one with St. Louis on Thursday, but with Rotnei Clarke, slip-ups should happen less and less. Those Explorers, who finished up a week beating Butler and VCU, began this one with a home loss to Massachusetts. La Salle is in the cluster of teams currently sitting at 4-2.
Philadelphia could be the home for inconsistency in this conference. Besides LaSalle, you’ve got Temple and St. Joe’s. The Owls gave Syracuse one of their two losses, but also lost at home to Canisius and St. Bonaventure. Khalif Wyatt is arguably one of the best players in the conference and he’s had a 31 point performance against St. Bonaventure and five points against Xavier. As he goes, Temple will go. This is the same team that gave Kansas a battle at their place before falling short.
The Hawks were supposed to win this conference and were the preseason favorite to do so. Instead they also have a loss at home to St. Bonaventure and a tough effort falling short at VCU. On Wednesday night, they nearly lost to Fordham, who went without Chris Gaston, is their best player. They have a win over Notre Dame and are still the most talented team in the league top to bottom.
You’d think St. Bonaventure is a good team with road wins at the Owls and Hawks, but they lost by 19 at George Washington. VCU brought a nice pedigree into the conference, but they had lost two straight and weren’t that stellar against Rhode Island. St. Louis was cruising this season until a puzzling loss to Rhode Island at home giving up 82 points in that one.
Bottom line is this: outside of Duquesne who is winless in conference, anyone can beat anyone else. VCU and Butler should make it into the dance. Other then that, a whole host of teams could punch their tickets or punch themselves in the arm for losses that would send them to the NIT or CBI.