The Barclay Center will be the home of the Atlantic 10 tournament beginning on Thursday and there are multiple teams who could win the automatic bid. The top seed has not won the tournament the last two years with St. Bonaventure and Richmond taking the championship as four and three seeds respectively. This year’s version is going to be so good that the Bonnies didn’t even make it due to a late loss at home to woeful Fordham.
The first round features a couple of intriguing matchups especially when Xavier takes on St. Joseph’s. The Hawks were the preseason favorite and arguably have top three talent in this conference. The problem has been coaching and consistency as they just have not been able to put it all together this season. Langston Galloway, Carl Jones and Ronald Roberts are among the many options that they can throw at you. There’s no reason SJU can’t win the whole tournament especially since a win would give them VCU in round two and the Hawks went toe-to-toe with the Rams.
Another team to watch is Richmond. The Spiders are 18-13 on the season, but have been in pretty much every conference game this season. The reason they are playing on Thursday is that they won only one road game in the A-10. They have a potent backcourt in Cedrick Lindsay, Darien Brothers and Kendall Anthony. Richmond should have no problems with Charlotte before getting to St. Louis whom they nearly beat at home this season.
The first round also features Butler who fell to fifth seed in the conference. The Bulldogs aren’t the same team we are used to the past few years. They still feature Rotnei Clarke, Andrew Smith and Roosevelt Jones, but the teams in this conference aren’t afraid of them or their mystique. Dayton is the first round opponent and the Flyers have the potential to upset the Bulldogs in round one. Kevin Dillard is impressive along with Vee Sanford.
The hottest team in the league is the Temple Owls who are coming in having won seven straight, capped off by a win over VCU on Sunday. Khalif Wyatt was named Player of the Year in the conference and rightfully so as he’s been the team’s best player. They will see either UMass or George Washington in round two followed by most likely the Rams once again.
Who do I think is winning the tournament? I’m going out on a limb and taking St. Joseph’s. The Hawks will beat Xavier who isn’t as strong away from the Cintas Center. They will follow that up with a revenge victory over VCU after they should have arguably beaten them at the Siegel Center. The battle of Philly schools will go the way of St. Joe’s and then the Hawks will top it off with a win over La Salle in the title game. Should be a fun one in Brooklyn.