It’s a little over a month into the college basketball season, which means conference play is right around the corner. For the Atlantic 10, conference play starts in three weeks on Jan. 9, but it’s never too early to take an in-depth look at the league.
For this blog, I’ll take a weekly look – from now until the end of the season – at the A-10 and include my own power rankings, player of the week and so forth. Feel free to leave your input and suggestions in the comments section below. Let’s get started.
In 140 characters or less, like on Twitter, I’ll explain my picks.
1. Butler (8-2): Early-seasons wins against Marquette, No. 9 UNC and, as of Saturday, No. 1 Indiana. The Bulldogs are rolling and are rightfully so a Top 25 team.
2. Virginia Commonwealth (7-3): Not the most impressive résumé so far, but neither does any other team at this point. All of the Rams’ losses are good losses.
3. Temple (7-1): The Owls have just one loss so far and it was to Duke. I was high on them before the season started and that hasn’t changed yet.
4. Xavier (7-2): Most expected a down year for the Muskies, but they’re right here. Both losses have been close and they have an impressive W over Butler.
5. Saint Louis (6-3): I definitely expected more out of SLU, but until Kwamain Mitchell comes back, I can’t judge them too harshly. They’ll get much better.
6. Saint Joseph’s (5-3): The preseason conference favorites have had a tough OOC schedule, but a recent loss to Villanova doesn’t help matters.
7. Dayton (8-2): Like other teams, they’ve benefited from a weak OOC, but a road win at Alabama is nothing to ignore and they’re winners of four straight.
8. UMass (5-3): The best is clearly still to come from the Minutemen, but right now they’re a middle of the pack squad with plenty of upside and potential.
La Salle senior guard Ramon Galloway is an early candidate for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. (Photo courtesy MCT)
9. Charlotte (10-1): The 10-1 record is very deceiving. A blowout loss to Miami (Fla.) confirmed that they aren’t as good as some thought.
10. Richmond (9-2): Despite a 5-game win streak, not sold on the Spiders quite yet, but a win in Lawrence on Tuesday could change things.
11. La Salle (6-2): The Explorers squeaked past Northeastern before losing close to Patriot League leader Bucknell. Hard to judge at the moment.
12. Duquesne (6-5): A blowout road loss to Robert Morris isn’t as catastrophic as some might think, but the Dukes still have plenty of work to do.
13. St. Bonaventure (6-3): SBU responded well from a loss to Arkansas State, but these aren’t your Andrew Nicholson-led Bonnies this year.
14. George Washington (4-6): Someone take the lid off GW’s baskets – the Colonials are ranked 244th in the country in scoring and have lost three straight.
15. Rhode Island (3-7): Dan Hurley’s first year as coach hasn’t been fun yet, but the Rams are a work in progress. They’ll be a cellar dweller all season.
16. Fordham (2-8): The Rams snapped their 5-game losing streak on Saturday, but they get a trip to Storrs this week. Spoiler alert: It won’t end pretty.