The Atlantic 10 Tournament is one of the most underrated conference tournaments out there. It seems to become a battle that can be taken by any of the teams in the top half of the league, year after year. This year, the Atlantic 10 Tournament moves to Pittsburgh after four years in Brooklyn, New York.
So what can we expect in the Steel city this year? Will there be upsets, or will this be heavily dominated by the top four teams with buys into the quarterfinals?
Atlantic 10 Tournament Bracket pic.twitter.com/UHuz79TUFB
— Matt Vautour (@MattVautourDHG) March 5, 2017
The bottom four seeds will be battling it out on Wednesday in order to play on Thursday versus the No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure Bonnies or the No. 6 seed George Washington Colonials. St. Joesph’s will be facing off against the UMass Minutemen. Saint Joesph’s has been injury rattled this season with two of their top three players going down with season ending injuries. On the other side for the Minutemen, a young team this year proves to be their achilles heel as they head into conference tournament play. The winner of that game will face St. Bonaventure. The other match up is between Duquense and Saint Louis. They are both young team struggling to find their way this year, but the Billikens have a young group that will only improve over the next few seasons. The winner of that game will take on George Washington.
The Teams To Look Out For:
There is not much else to say other than that Dayton has done everything they needed to do this season. They have the leadership coming from the upperclassmen as three of their five starters made an All-Conference team, with Charles Cooke also making the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team. With A10 Coach of the Year Archie Miller leading the squad, and Dayton winning five of their last six games, they are the favorite heading into the tournament.
Two teams to keep an eye out for are Rhode Island and Richmond. Richmond is the third overall seed, but according to bracketlogists, they will have to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. That is not the case for the Rhode Island Rams. The Rams are right on the bubble according to multiple bracketologists, and so they need as many wins in Pittsburgh as possible to help their case. They could have an interesting match-up on Friday as they could potentially face the No. 5 St. Bonaventure.
Even though the Bonnies lost the regular season match-up, the Bonnies have one of the best back courts in the country in Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. Combined, they average 39.7 points per game. If they both get hot, the Bonnies could pull of the upset on Friday. A loss could only hurt URI’s bubble chances, so it will be interesting if that match-up happens, like most hope it will.
Last, but not least, the VCU Rams are a scary bunch to face in the tournament. As the No. 2 seed, the Rams will face the winner of George Washington vs. SLU/Duq. The Rams should have every reason to feel good about their chances heading into Pittsburgh. With a top guard in JeQuan Lewis leading the way on offense, and with a very quick and stifling defense, Will Wade’s bunch is a scary match up for most teams. The major reason why VCU is such a scary team to face is because of the dominance they can have with Mo Allie-Cox. If your team lacks size inside, it is a tough match up versus the Rams because they can score both inside and outside.