The first week of conference play is officially in the books, which means it’s time for the latest Atlantic 10 roundup. Apologies if you’ve been waiting. I had a long day yesterday, but you’ll get over it.
In 140 characters or less, like on Twitter, I’ll explain my picks.
1. Butler (14-2, 2-0 A-10): The Bulldogs had two tough road tests to open their inaugural A-10 schedule, but took care of business. They’ll stay at the top spot.
2. Virginia Commonwealth (14-3, 2-0 A-10): Like Butler, also started off its inaugural A-10 sched with two good wins. Rams haven’t lost since Nov. 24.
3. Temple (11-4, 1-1 A-10): Owls get ahead of Saint Louis by virtue of beating the them at home on Saturday. Otherwise, a loss to Xavier would have pushed them down.
4. Saint Louis (12-4, 1-1 A-10): SLU is much better than it showed Saturday vs. Temple. Playing on less than two days rest after beating UMass didn’t help matters.
5. UMass (11-4, 1-1 A-10): Minutemen almost stole one at SLU without Jesse Morgan and I believe they’re starting to finally hit their potential.
6. Charlotte (14-2, 2-0 A-10): OK, I’ll give the 49ers credit for starting 2-0 in conference play, and a 14-2 record is pretty impressive regardless of their weak schedule.
7. La Salle (11-4, 1-1 A-10): Losing to Charlotte surprised me a bit, but the Explorers have enough firepower to bounce back, which they did against Richmond.
8. Saint Joseph’s (9-5, 1-1 A-10): Really tough, close loss to Butler to start A-10 play, but it showed me they could definitely end up living up to their preseason hype.
9. Xavier (9-6, 2-0 A-10): XU is starting to make my head hurt. They’ve beaten Butler/Temple this year, yet have lost to Pacific/Wofford. Wild stuff.
10. Dayton (10-6, 0-2 A-10): Playing VCU, then Butler to start A-10 play isn’t really fair, but I couldn’t justify keeping the Flyers higher.
11. Richmond (11-6, 1-1 A-10): I expected more out of the Spiders at home vs. URI. UR is still a tough cookie to crack right now.
12. George Washington (7-8, 1-1 A-10): Last week I said GW scored 38 points against Sacred Heart. Turns out I read the score wrong, so I’m moving them up two spots. Sorry.
13. St. Bonaventure (7-8, 0-2 A-10): Judging who’s the best of the worst is some chore, I’ll tell you, but the Bonnies played VCU close, something that is hard to do.
14. Fordham (5-12, 1-1 A-10): I don’t think the Rams are rising, but I’ll give them credit for starting A-10 play strong. Almost came back and beat UMass.
15. Duquesne (7-9, 0-2 A-10): The Dukes really have no impressive wins this season, and they lost to Fordham. Not really much going for them.
16. Rhode Island (5-10, 0-2 A-10): I do think the Rams are better than this ranking.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Treveon Graham, VCU: For the third straight week, I’ve got a VCU player here, but this time it’s not Troy Daniels. Treveon Graham has flown a little bit under the radar this season, but he’s responsible for the Rams’ success as much as anyone. That much was evident this week, as he scored 24 points in VCU’s conference-opening win over Dayton, then followed that performance with 17 points and 9 rebounds in just 22 minutes in a win against St. Bonaventure. Keep an eye out for this kid, folks.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH
Ramon Galloway, La Salle: 17.1 points per game, 3.3 assists per game, 2.3 steals per game
Rotnei Clarke, Butler: 16.3 points per game, 3.7 3-pointers per game, 44.4 3-point percentage
Chaz Williams, UMass: 15.8 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, 1.9 steals per game
Khalif Wyatt, Temple: 16.0 points per game, 3.9 assists per game, 83.5 free throw percentage
Treveon Graham, VCU: 15.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Saint Joseph’s at VCU, Thursday, 9 p.m.: The Hawks can finally if they’re worthy of those lofty preseason expectations if they can make this game close. Before the season, this is a game some probably thought SJU would win, but the Rams are really rolling.
Gonzaga at Butler, Saturday, 9 p.m.: For some reason Butler isn’t finished with its non-conference schedule, which will end Saturday at home against Gonzaga in a matchup of two Top 15 teams. If a win over top-ranked Indiana earlier in the season wasn’t enough to convince people, a win here would give more reason to say Butler is for real. This is televised on ESPN.
Follow Stephen Hewitt on Twitter @steve_hewitt or send him an email at email@example.com.