The A-10 was a highly competitive league this season and currently has five teams fighting for an at-large bid to the Dance (though realistically G-Dub's probably out of consideration now). Let's look at how the conference tourney will shake out:
Revised All-Conference Selections:
Best call(s): My colleague Jim said the following, "Predicting the player of the year to come from the 7th-place team takes some balls, and Ky nailed it – Bembry was a total stud, and with the progression of Isaiah Miles, the Hawks jumped all the way up to 4th, narrowly missing a tie for first place (lost finale at home to Duquesne)." While I appreciate the ball compliement, I can't boast too much about this selection due to Bembry being a pretty well-known commodity coming into the season - but hey I'll take the praise. Dayton in first was spot on, despite hot contention from several other squads. I was correctly low on GW, despite them returning a ton of talent and getting a lot of preseason hype, as Mike Lonergan just hasn’t been able to get that team to play fluidly together. And I knew that SLU would suck.
Worst call(s): Pour one out for EC Matthews. The fantastic Rhode Island wing would have been the main contender to Bembry for POY, but he blew out his knee right at the start of the season. His injury (and others) led to Rhode Island’s disappointing 7th-place finish. The biggest miss was probably the Bonnies, but who knew they would end up tying for first?? The three-headed monster of Posley, Adams, and Wright was too much for opponents to handle, as those three all played 90% or more of the team’s minutes (3 of the top 40 such rates in the country!). I was a little too high on Richmond, too, as the Spiders lost 5 of their last 6 and fell to 9th.
Who I want to win: It'd be nice to see Rhode Island make the Dance after the Matthews tragedy, but them being in it waters down the field, so I'll go with the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure has played unbelievable basketball this season (as alluded to above) led by their stud guards. The Bons are squarely on the bubble right now and I'd hate to see them miss out on the Tourney.
Who I think will win: I think VCU takes home the ship. Dayton is very good and St. Joe's has two of the best players in the league, but VCU is great on both sides of the ball (4th in the conference in offense, 2nd in defense). The Rams havoc-style D carried over from the Shaka era allows them to create turnovers in bunches leading to huge momentum swings which is crucial in Tourney mode.
Chance to make a run: Dayton has been the best A-10 team all year but they've finally looked human as of late. The Flyer could easily run the table and win the Tourney, I just am feeling the VCU Rams a bit more. In the Big Dance, really any of the top 4 schools have a shot at making a Sweet 16 or even Elite 8 run. I think Dayton is best equipped for a deep run but don't be surprised if you see VCU creep into the Sweet as a 10 or 11-seed. I think and hope all 4 top squads make the Tourney; they're seeds should range from 6 to 11.
How it plays out:
(12) George Mason defeats (13) SLU
(11) Duquesne defeats (14) La Salle
(9) Richmond defeats (8) Fordham
(5) George Washington defeats (12) George Mason in the George battle
(7) Rhode Island defeats (10) UMass
(11) Duquesne defeats (6) Davidson (this is a stretch, McKillop may be too good of a coach)
(1) Dayton defeats (9) Richmond
(5) George Washington defeats (4) St. Joseph's
(2) VCU defeats (7) Rhode Island
(3) St. Bonaventure defeats (11) Duquesne
(1) Dayton defeats (5) George Washington
(2) VCU defeats (3) St. Bonaventure
(2) VCU defeats (1) Dayton
VCU earns a 10-seed and pulls a first round upset. Dayton earns a 7-seed and wins. St. Joe's earns a 10-seed and loses. Bonnies earn an 11-seed play-in battle and lose.