Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Preview

The Atlantic 10 has four teams stuck on the bubble heading into the tournament, giving this conference tournament major implications. The tournament format is pretty standard, with the first round being played in the Siegel Center on VCU’s campus, the second and third rounds split between the Siegel Center and the Robins Center on the Richmond campus, and finally the University of Dayton is hosting the championship game.

COVID-19 and injuries have absolutely ravaged a few of the titans of the Atlantic 10, possibly suppressing some of their value heading into the postseason. Saint Louis (+240) is the favorite heading into the A-10 tournament despite an incredibly long COVID layoff that culminated in back to back losses to Dayton and La Salle. VCU (+325) and St. Bonaventure (+350) follow Saint Louis as they are the 2 and 1 seeds, respectively. Richmond (+575) is the 9 seed after very poor injury luck and a disappointing finish to the year. All four of these teams are squarely on the bubble and likely need to win the tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament. Other teams with realistic shots to win include Davidson (+450) and Dayton (+1400).

Kings of the Conference: Saint Louis, VCU, St. Bonaventure

Personally, I have been high on this Saint Louis team since last summer. I still think they possess the best team, but VCU and St. Bonaventure have definitely played well enough all year long to close the gap. VCU is led by Nah’Shon Hyland, the possible conference player of the year, who scores efficiently and enough to make up for the rest of the team’s offensive woes. VCU possesses an elite defensive team. The Bonnies are a well-balanced starting five that has dominated since the new year. However, a convincing loss to Saint Louis, splitting with VCU, and a recent close loss to Dayton has left them on the bubble. I think the Bonnies possess the best chance, next to the Billikens, to take down the nets at the end of this tournament.

Potential Killers: Dayton

Anthony Grant’s Flyers have had a very up and down season following the outstanding year they had last year. A long COVID layoff and compounding injuries have caused uneven play month to month that have seen losses to bad A-10 teams (La Salle, Fordham!!!) and wins against the best teams in the conference outside of VCU. Rodney Chatman is healthy now and has returned from an 11 game absence, and Jalen Crutcher is still an elite guard in the nation. This is a talented team that can definitely win against the elite competition in the conference, as long as they get there.

Overrated: Richmond

Underrated: Dayton, St Joe’s

Who is worth a bet? 1u Saint Louis (+240), .5u Dayton (+1400)

SLU and St. Bonaventure are the two clear top teams in this conference for me. I personally have VCU rated much lower compared to most, so it comes to the top two teams. I give the edge to the Billikens because I think there are matchup advantages they can take advantage of in a potential matchup in the semis with the Bonnies. Dayton is vastly undervalued here, so adding a bet on them too.

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