Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
13 Saint Joseph’s def. 12 La Salle
11 George Washington def. 14 Fordham
9 Duquesne def. 8 Richmond
13 Saint Joseph’s def. 5 UMass
7 Dayton def. 10 Rhode Island
6 George Mason def. 11 George Washington
1 St. Bonaventure def. 9 Duquesne
4 Saint Louis def. 13 Saint Joseph’s
7 Dayton def. 2 VCU
3 Davidson def. 6 George Mason
4 Saint Louis def. 1 St. Bonaventure
7 Dayton def. 3 Davidson
4 Saint Louis def. 7 Dayton
With no conference tournament champion from last season, the Billikens are still the reigning title holders from 2019. Their downturn in the season came after missing over a month of games due to COVID-related postponements. Losses to Dayton and La Salle knocked them clean out of the AP polls. Since then, Saint Louis has gone 5-2 with a big loss to Dayton and a close one to VCU. The Billikens lead the conference in rebounding margin led by Jordan Goodwin’s conference-high 10.3 rebounds per game. Alongside Goodwin, Hasahn French is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game with almost two turnovers forced per game. The pair were named to the 2020 A-10 All-Defensive Team. With a Top 50 scoring defense and the best margin of victory in their conference, Saint Louis is poised for a deep run.
Don’t let the seeding be deceiving. The Flyers were one game away from having the two seed given how clustered the standings are. Dayton has shot the ball as well as anyone during conference season. They are second in both field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage. A strong second half against St. Bonaventure on Monday generated momentum for a team that had been up and down. The secret advantage for Dayton is that if they can survive to the semifinals, they pick up home court advantage. An automatic bid is the last chance for March Madness eligibility.
The Hawks are as deep a sleeper as it gets. Saint Joe’s needs to win five games to take down the championship. Since senior guard Ryan Daly has been back in the lineup, the Hawks are 3-0 and he is averaging 23 points per game. Their season-long scoring stats are poor but recent trends indicate hope. The strength of the top half is daunting but this is the double-digit seed with the highest ceiling.
Matchup to Watch
VCU vs Dayton
The Rams start the A-10 Tournament off with a tough opponent. The Flyers might be the inferior team at full strength, but VCU may not be at full strength. Nah’Shon Hyland and Vince Williams Jr. are both dealing with injuries that could prevent them from playing or impede their abilities. The sheer unpredictability makes this an intriguing matchup. The winner of this game has a strong chance to take down Davidson in the semis, should that be the matchup.
Featured Image courtesy of slubillikens.com
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