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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Predicting the tournament – First two rounds

First Round

(12) Fordham vs (13) Davidson

After an impressive 2022-23 campaign from the Fordham Rams, they had a frustrating 6-12 conference play this season, where they secured the 12th seed. While Fordham should have the home-court advantage-like environment on Tuesday as the most local team in the conference, the Davidson Wildcats will have the upper hand. Davidson is led by senior guard Grant Huffman, averaging 12.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. On the other hand, Fordham is led by senior guard Kyle Rose, averaging 10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Fordham and Davidson ended their season on losing streaks. While Davidson ended the season losing five straight, their last win this year was against the Rams at home on February 20th. They'll catch Fordham sleeping again on Tuesday and advance to the second round on Wednesday.

Prediction: Davidson

(10) La Salle vs (15) George Washington

The La Salle Explorers will take on the George Washington Revolutionaries in the second game of Tuesday's slate. While La Salle has had an inconsistent season, flipping back and forth between winning and losing streaks, they managed to secure the tenth seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. Despite some of their regular season losing streaks, they have a solid core consisting of Khalil Brantley, Jhamir Bruckus, Daeshon Shepherd, and Anwar Gill, who should lead them over the league's worst team. La Salle's veteran leadership and experience should overpower George Washington's younger roster, and the Explorers will advance to take on St. Bonaventure.

Prediction: La Salle

(11) Rhode Island vs (14) Saint Louis

The Rhode Island Rams have had another inconsistent season but may be heading in the right direction after finishing second to last in the Atlantic 10 standings just a year ago. Although the Rams finished toward the bottom of the standings again this season, the roster has improved tremendously, and Rhody has shown flashes of success in year two of the Archie Miller era in Kingston. URI opened up conference play 3-0 with wins over Saint Joseph's, Davidson, and UMass.

They'll look to make a run as the 11th seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament and will be matched up with the 14th-seeded Saint Louis Billikens in the first round on Tuesday night. URI's biggest strength is on offense, as their shooting numbers have drastically improved since last year; however, the program has struggled defensively. In fact, Rhody recently posted 91 points against Saint Louis, yet their poor defense showed as they allowed 94 points and dropped a winnable game at home. This time, the Rams should handle business with their talented roster as long as they limit turnovers and tighten their defense. I expect junior guard Jaden House and junior forward David Green to have a solid performance to lead the Rams to the second round against No. 6 Duquesne.

Prediction: Rhode Island

Second Round

(8) George Mason vs (9) Saint Joseph's

We start day two with one of the best matchups in the tournament when No. 8 takes on No. 9 Saint Joseph's. These two teams are evenly matched, and I expect a highly competitive game. Both programs finished neck and neck in the standings, finishing at .500 with a 9-9 record in conference play. Still, despite having the lower seed, the Hawks have a slight advantage because they took down the Patriots in the lone matchup between both programs this season. If Saint Joe's does pull off the upset, look out for Erik Reynolds II, one of the league's best shooters, to get the job done. The junior guard is shooting at 41.2 percent and 39.0 percent from three-point range.

While Saint Joseph's has a loaded roster of five players averaging double figures this season, including Reynolds II, George Mason will come out on top with their trio consisting of Hall, Maddox, and Kelly dominating on both ends of the floor on Wednesday, but don't sleep on the Hawks to make it a competitive and highly anticipated game. Regardless of the outcome, A-10 basketball fans will be in for a treat when these two programs take the Barclays Center floor.

Prediction: George Mason

(5) VCU vs (13) Davidson

The VCU Rams will have their first crack at the A-10 tournament on Wednesday when they face No. 13 Davidson Wildcats. This is where we will get a first look at the defending Atlantic 10 tournament champions, but this time, they will look a lot different without former head coach Rhoades on the sideline and Baldwin Jr in the backcourt. Instead, fans will see head coach Odom and Shulga as VCU's floor general. VCU will also display Joe Bamisile, Zeb Jackson, and Sean Bairstow, who all averaged double figures for the Rams. While Davidson could turn some heads with their shooting, I believe VCU is more talented because of their ability to score from anywhere on the floor. We can expect to see the Rams advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Prediction: VCU

(7) St Bonaventure vs (10) La Salle

Like the George Mason-Saint Joe's contest, the seventh-seeded St Bonaventure Bonnies facing off with the tenth-seeded La Salle Explorers will be a great matchup, much closer than some people may anticipate. The Bonnies finished middle of the pack this season in the Atlantic 10 standings with a 9-9 record in conference play, including significant wins over VCU, UMass, and Loyola Chicago; however, they ended the regular season on back-to-back losses to George Washington and Saint Louis. The trio of Chad Venning, Charles Pride, and Mika Adams-Woods lead St Bonaventure and have done a tremendous job on the Bonnies' backcourt, but La Salle will once again have the last laugh with their talented core of Brantley, Brickus, Shepherd, and Gill. March is all about upsets, and unfortunately for St Bonaventure, they will be on the opposite end of one on Wednesday.

Prediction: La Salle

(6) Duquesne vs (11) Rhode Island

Rhode Island moves on to Wednesday, where they'll face off against the sixth-seeded Duquesne Dukes, led by senior guards Dae Dae Grant and Jimmy Clark III. When both programs met this past season, the Dukes were victorious 85-71, and four players finished in double figures for Duquesne, including Grant, who had 31 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Seven of his nine makes were from the three-point range, and he was perfect from the charity stripe on the day. We'll see a similar result from Grant on Wednesday, and we'll even get a standout performance from Clark III, who averaged 15.1 points per game this season. While Clark III did not have the best game against URI earlier in the year, he'll bounce back and could create serious problems for Rhody on Wednesday.

Prediction: Duquesne