Sporting News – Kellan Grady
The Atlantic 10 has been one of the premier mid-major college basketball conferences in recent years, sending at least 3 teams to the NCAA tournament every year since 2007 and sent 6 teams to the dance in 2014. The last time the league only sent 1 team to the tournament was in 2005 with only George Washington going dancing. 2019 is shaping up to be the next 1 bid year. Not a single team is in the at-large conversation and the highest ranked Kenpom team is St. Louis at 80, with Dayton and Davidson at 84 and 85 respectively. In the NET St. Louis comes in at 70 with VCU right behind them at 71. The A10 is currently ranked 10th in the Kenpom conference rankings coming in behind the MAC! The entire conference is underperforming.
St. Louis fell just short against Pitt and stumbled vs Southern Illinois. Dayton has played a gauntlet of a schedule, but was unable to pick up a marquee win against Virginia, Mississippi State, or Auburn and fell flat against Tulsa. Davidson has not beat a team inside the Kenpom top 100 and must win its game against North Carolina to be in any sort of at-large conversation. VCU couldn’t pull one off against Old Dominion or Charleston. Rhode Island is last in the nation, yes the nation, 353rd in 3FG% and lost to Stony Brook and Charleston (might as well throw Charleston in the A10, by the looks of things they would run the table in the conference). St. Joe’s lost to William & Mary and went 0-2 in their Philly Big 5 games vs Temple and Villanova. UMass was unable to beat Howard, currently ranked 298 in Kenpom. LaSalle is 1-10 and it’s only win was against a fellow winless squad, Alabama A&M.
The biggest disappointment has been George Mason. They were picked to finish 4th in the A10 and even got a first-place vote and they have been nothing short of terrible this year. They started off the year 0-3 with losses to Penn, American, and Georgia Southern. They have yet to beat a team inside the Kenpom top 180.
The only way I see the A10 receiving more than 1 NCAA bid is if Davidson beats UNC or St. Louis beats Florida State and they both lose 3 games or less in conference play. This is a sad year for a usually proud basketball conference.