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 – Quarterfinals


(1) Richmond vs (8) George Mason

On the third day of the tournament, Atlantic 10 fans will get a look at the top-seeded Richmond Spiders when they face off against George Mason. The Spiders had such a successful season because of their veteran leadership. Richmond may be one of the most experienced teams in the league as they are led by seniors King, Quinn, Bigelow, and Bailey. Spiders' head coach, Chris Mooney, has done a fantastic job recruiting most of Richmond's talent through the transfer portal over the last few seasons, and it's impressive how the team was able to develop chemistry so quickly.

On the other hand, George Mason ended the regular season with a 64-46 victory at home against Richmond, so getting a rematch of this matchup in the tournament should be exciting. Maddox, Newton, and Kelly stood out for the Patriots, posting double figures. While Mason's seniors stood out in that game, I believe Richmond's veterans will come to play in the quarterfinals, and they will send the Patriots home packing and will advance to the semifinal round.

Prediction: Richmond

(4) Massachusetts vs (5) VCU

The fourth-seeded Massachusetts Minutemen will face off against VCU in the quarterfinals. Massachusetts head coach Frank Martin has set UMass up to succeed in just his second season with the program, and they upgraded significantly from last season, where they were a bottom-three team in the league. The duo of Cross and Cohen has worked so well for the Minutemen's frontcourt this season, and it's no surprise they have performed all season long. While both are in their final season of college basketball, UMass still has so much young talent who have shown promise in Rahsool Diggins, Keon Thompson, and Jaylen Curry. While UMass deserves a top seed with their talent, VCU's new-look team led by Shulga and Bamisile will spoil their fun and end their hopes of an A-10 championship short this season.

Prediction: VCU

(2) Loyola Chicago vs (10) La Salle

Loyola Chicago may be one of the most fun teams in the last few weeks. The No. 2 seed Ramblers, led by head coach Drew Valentine, are again destined to win in March. Loyola Chicago made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2018, 2021, and 2022 and is looking to add 2024 to that list an automatic bid by outright winning the tournament. The Ramblers ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak, upsetting No. 21 Dayton, taking down Davidson on the road, and beating La Salle to become the co-regular season champions. Well, the Ramblers still need to be finished, and they'll face La Salle again, where they'll handle business against the tenth seed. I expect this to be a massive performance from Waston, Alston, and Adelekun.

Prediction: Loyola Chicago

(3) Dayton vs (6) Duquesne

The Dayton Flyers will come off their double-bye and open up the A-10 tournament in the quarterfinal round against Duquesne, who took down Rhode Island to advance to this round. It takes a lot of work to pick against the team that was projected to finish atop the conference and was nationally ranked by the Associated Press not too long ago. They have one of the best coaches in the league and the best players offensively and defensively in the conference. Duquesne will get their money's worth with Grant and Clark III and make this a close battle with their shooting from behind the arc, but in the end, Dayton will just be the bigger team inside the paint and outrebound the Dukes. I believe the Flyer's frontcourt, consisting of Holmes II and Santos, will force Duquesne to shoot from the perimeter. This game comes down to who plays better defense; in this case, it's Dayton.

Prediction: Dayton