The NCAA season has reached it first round of the postseason. With the regular season now in the books, we are in the heart of the conference tournaments. Come Wednesday, March 8th, a good majority of the conferences will have started their respective tournaments. Several tickets have already have been punched, with more to come each and every day in the coming week.
One of the tournaments that will be tipping off for the first time on Wednesday will be the A10 conference tournament. Here at INSC we have you covered, with predictions down below. This tourney will conclude on Selection Sunday.
You can check out the seedings and a link to the bracket below.
(4) Rhode Island
(5) Saint Bonaventure
(6) George Washington
(7) George Mason
(8) La Salle
(11) Saint Louis
(13) Saint Joseph’s
The first round will feature two games against the lower level teams. We will see UMass and Saint Joseph’s square off, as well as Saint Louis and Duquesne. The winner of the first game will get St. Bonaventure, while the winner of the second one will get George Washington. I am calling for UMass 73-72 and Duquesne 71-66.
This will move us into round two, which will feature four games, with each winner moving on to face a top four team. We will have La Salle taking on Davidson to face Dayton. Then we have UMass and Saint Bonaventure with Rhode Island waiting. This is followed by George Mason and Fordham going toe to toe with a game against VCU on the line. The final game will see Duquesne and George Washington playing to face Richmond. I am predicting La Salle 77-75, the Bonnies 81-75, George Mason 73-68 and George Washington 76-67.
So our first quarterfinal will pit La Salle and Dayton. Dayton plays overall better defense, and they are better when it comes to creating possessions. This one will not be a runaway by any means, as La Salle is comparable in a handful of stats. But when it comes down to the end, Dayton flys away with a 79-73 win.
The second quarterfinal will be against St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island. This one should be a close one. Rhode Island has the edge in terms of defense. But they are not a very good free throw shooting team, while the Bonnies are. This could prove costly late in the game for the bubble team. But when all is said and done, I think Rhode Island can sneak by in this one, 75-72.
This will be followed by George Mason and VCU. This one will be the best of the quarterfinal games. I could honestly see this one going either way. Both teams are very close in the majority of statistics. There is no real huge edge for either club. But the formula I have gives a slight edge to the favorites in this one, so I will lean towards VCU by the score of 72-71.
To wrap up the quarterfinals we will have George Washington and Richmond. Richmond is hands down the weakest of the top four teams. How they ended up ahead of Rhode Island beats me. So this is where I see our first upset of sorts as we progress late into this tournament. Give me GW by the score of 74-68.
This sets up our first semifinals game to be Dayton against Rhode Island. Rhode Island will be making their last efforts to impress the committee in this one. As much as I like their team, they free throws will come back to haunt them. Dayton walks away winners here, 71-70, but Rhode Island does enough to earn them an at-large bid.
Then they will be getting the winners of the VCU-George Washington game. The biggest edge GW will have in this one will be from the charity stripe. But everything else will point to VCU. George Washington will need to take this one plus one more if they want to go dancing, while VCU is already in. Unfortunately for GW, but luckily for all bubble teams, VCU brings this one down late by the score of 69-68.
This sets up a title game against two teams who are already in. Dayton takes on VCU, with seeding being the only thing on the line. Dayton always seems to show up at this point in the season, and I think they do just that in this one. It will be a highly contested game, like many of the games in this conference tournament. But Dayton comes out on top, 72-70.
So what do you think? Who will emerge with an NCAA Tournament bid? Will it be an upset, or will the top seed claim their auto bid? Tell us in the comments!