After a week filled with great games, our Bracketology is back with some changes.
Although the Atlantic 10 Conference is not among the elite nationwide, it would be a mistake to overlook the talent that runs deep from top to bottom. There are three teams that have very respectable odds to make the NCAA Tournament, which might not seem like much, but for a non-Power 5 conference, this is more than satisfactory.
At 14-4, the VCU Rams are one of those teams in consideration for an at-large bid. To this point, their best win has come against Middle Tennessee State and their resume is not the strongest, but there are opportunities ahead against Rhode Island and in particular, Dayton.
VCU is coming off a tough loss in Davidson, but with two very winnable games up next, they could be 16-4 by the time Dayton comes to town.
And speaking of Dayton, the Flyers are a frontrunner to win the Atlantic 10. The team has two really tough losses, to Saint Mary’s and Northwestern, which were missed opportunities against other potential tournament teams.
For the most part, their resume is clean of bad losses (RPI 100+) and they hold an above average strength of schedule so far. Traveling to VCU in the coming weeks will likely be one of the toughest games they face all season, and could help them break away from the conference pack.
The last team that has a chance to earn an at-large bid in the A-10 is Rhode Island, who was initially ranked in the preseason top-25. They have had a somewhat disappointing start to the year.
Coming in at 156th in the NCAA in scoring per game, they could use some more point production. After losing to La Salle and Dayton, Rhody is 3-2 in conference play, and is slightly playing behind the eight ball. Without a major opponent until their second date with Dayton on February 10th, Rhode Island could really use a six-game winning streak. If possible, the team could be 17-6 for that game against the Flyers.
As these teams beat up on each other during conference play, it is unlikely that all three will make the Big Dance. But nonetheless, it is exciting to see the A-10 playing such competitive basketball with meaningful rewards at the end of the year.