Busting Brackets

Atlantic 10 Basketball: 2024 conference tournament preview and predictions

March represents a new beginning for every college basketball program. This week, each A-10 team will fight to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. Will we be surprised to see which team earns an automatic bid on Sunday?
Mar 9, 2024; Henrico, VA, USA;  A general view of the trophy prior to the Atlantic 10 Conference
Mar 9, 2024; Henrico, VA, USA; A general view of the trophy prior to the Atlantic 10 Conference / Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
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Key players to watch in the Atlantic 10 Tournament

JR Daron Holmes II – Dayton

2023-24 Stats: 20.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.6 apg

Daron Holmes II is a candidate for Atlantic 10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year because he can do it all on both ends. The last time a player won both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors was last season when former VCU guard Ace Baldwin Jr took home both awards. With Dayton entering the tournament as the third seed with the double bye, Dayton could have the perfect path to the championship game and look to Holmes II to lead the Flyers to the big game on Sunday with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.

SO Keyshawn Hall - George Mason

2023-24 Stats: 17.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.5 apg

When head coach Kim English left George Mason before the season to join the Providence, fans were concerned about the program's future; however, when Tony Skinn was promoted off the bench to become the team's next head coach, he proved that the Patriots would be just fine with their young talent mixed with veteran players. One of the successful transfers Skinn and his coaching staff brought in was sophomore guard Keyshawn Hall from UNLV. The 6-foot-7 was one of the league's most talented multi-dimensional players, as he had nine double-doubles this past season, including three straight games where he finished with double-digit points and rebounds during the non-conference slate. 

SR Matt Cross - UMass

2023-24 Stats: 15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.0 apg

When the Minutemen hired Frank Martin last season, many fans questioned how UMass would perform. The program finished 13th in Martin's first season in Amherst but managed to bounce back this year by retaining key pieces like senior forward Matt Cross and bringing in senior forward Josh Cohen, who transferred from St. Francis (PA). While Cross brings much experience from playing with Miami, Louisville, and UMass, college basketball fans were waiting for the 6-foot-7 forward to have a breakout season. Cross is also a multi-dimensional player who can impact the game on both sides of the floor and was a tremendous asset to the Minutemen's frontcourt. The duo of Cross and Cohen was a significant reason Massachusetts secured the fourth seed and earned the double-bye in this year's tournament. 

SR Max Shulga - VCU

2023-24 Stats: 15.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.6 apg

After winning the Atlantic 10 regular season and conference tournament last year, VCU was in full rebuild mode this season when head coach Mike Rhoades and player of the year Ace Baldwin Jr. left the program to join Penn State. Former Utah State head coach Ryan Odom took over VCU this season and brought senior guard Max Shulga with him to the Rams, which could not have gone better for the program. Shulga started all 30 games for VCU and led the team in points (15.0) and assists (3.6) per game. He also shot 44.3 percent and 41.8 from three-point range this season. 

SR Jordan King - Richmond

2023-24 Stats: 18.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.5 apg

Jordan King is arguably the best transfer in the conference this season, with Max Shulga right behind him. The ETSU transfer was the Richmond Spiders' leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points per game. King was a fantastic fit for Chris Mooney's squad because of his experience. He was able to come in and significantly contribute to the Spiders' success this season, leading the team as regular season champions. If the Spiders go all the way in the A-10 tournament as the top seed, King will be the reason why and will be a candidate for the tournament's first team.