Tag: Davidson

2018-2019 Atlantic-10 Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

Kellan Grady, Davidson

Preseason All-Conference Team:

Josh Cunningham, Dayton

Grant Golden, Richmond

Kellan Grady, Davidson

Mike Lewis, Duquesne

Otis Livingston II, George Mason

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

Carte’Are Gordon, Saint Louis

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Davidson

Led by the best player in the league, sophomore guard Kellan Grady, Davidson will remain one of the toughest teams to prepare for in the league. The Wildcats certainly have a big hole to fill with Peyton Aldridge. However, Grady, junior guard Jon Axel Gudmunsson and coach Bob McKillop’s offense will be enough to win the regular season title.

2. George Mason

Led by senior guard Otis Livingston II, not many teams in the A-10 will have the returning talent that coach Dave Paulsen has at his disposal. The Patriots return four players that averaged double figures last season. That kind of experience, depth and talent in this league separates teams. Given that this is a bit of a transitional year for the league, George Mason can do some major damage.

3. Saint Louis

Travis Ford is doing what most other programs in this league can’t do and that’s recruit with the big boys. Freshman forward Carte’Are Gordon is an absolute steal and leads a recruiting class that’s better than many power conference teams. He’ll be balanced by a backcourt of sophomore Jordan Goodwin and senior Javon Bess. Expect Maryland grad transfer Dion Wiley to provide depth in the backcourt as well. The Billikens have NCAA potential.

4. Saint Josephs

Coach Phil Martelli is the dean of this league and he has another team that’ll be able to challenge for a NCAA berth. The return of sophomore forward Charlie Brown Jr. from a broken wrist gives hope to a squad that is one of the elite programs in this league. Throw in senior guard Chris Clover as well as fellow sophomore forwards Anthony Longpre and Taylor Funk and the Hawks will be a threat all year.

5. Dayton

Head coach Anthony Grant has had success at every stop and you can see it coming at Dayton. The Flyers return senior forward Josh Cunningham, who is a all-conference candidate. He’ll lead a team that also features junior guard Trey Landers, sophomore guard Jalen Crutcher, and sophomore guard Jordan Davis. The latter three will be dynamite next season, but it’s probably one year too early for NCAA tournament glory.

6. Rhode Island

The Rams lost head coach Danny Hurley to UConn and Jared Terrell, E.C. Mathews, Stanford Robinson to graduation. They have some stability as new coach David Cox was an assistant under Hurley. He was able to lock down the best recruiting class in Rhode Island history, which will be led by forwards Jermaine Harris and Dana Tate. Sophomore Fatts Russell and junior Jeff Dowtin are expected to do an adequate job in the backcourt in this transitional season.

7. Duquesne

What Keith Dambrot has cooking at Duquesne is special. The talent on the floor is improving while the cosmetic things around the program are as well. The Dukes home court is getting a major renovation that will allow them to compete with the rest of the league. While that’s great for the future, this team will, at the very least, be competitive in the present. The backcourt of junior Mike Lewis II and sophomore Eric Williams Jr. will tough to deal with.

8. UMass

UMass struggled a great deal last season, but has one of the best scorers in the conference in junior guard Luwane Pipkins returning. He will be surrounded by transfers Jonathan Laurent and Curtis Cobb – both of whom are expected to contribute immediately. Sophomore guard Carl Pierre and senior center Rashaan Holloway should also provide a lift.

9. La Salle

New La Salle head coach Ashley Howard comes over from Villanova where he’ll have some talent at his disposal. A deep backcourt of senior Pookie Powell, junior Isiah Deas as well as sophomores Jamir Moultie and David Beatty gives him something to work with. Moving forward, assistant coach Kenny Johnson’s involvement with the FBI probe could become a distraction for this team.

10. Richmond

The Spiders had a catastrophic start to last season, but were able to rebound to be respectable in league play. Then Khwan Fore and De’Monte Buckingham transferred. Head coach Chris Mooney was believed to be on the hot seat last season and if that was the case it’s engulfed in flames right now. Sophomores Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard while junior Nick Sherod gives him something to work with.

11. St. Bonaventure

The Bonnies are coming off a great season that saw them upset UCLA in the First Four. It’s a good thing that they made the most of that season because it’s going to be tough sledding without Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and Idris Taqqee. Senior forward Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffin are expected to provide a big lift while freshman Osun Osunniyi, a coup for the program, while be asked to produce right away.

12. VCU

Mike Rhoades rebuild at VCU is still ongoing as the Rams should struggle once again this season. Returning for the Rams will be juniors De’Riante Jenkins and Isaac Vann. Rice transfer Marcus Evans’ health is the x-factor for the Rams though. If he can return to his old form, it could propel them up the standings. If not, it’ll be another long winter in Richmond.

13. Fordham

Without question the toughest job in the league and it won’t be pretty this season. The difficulty in recruiting has coach Jeff Neubauer leaning on Europe to find players, which is why sophomore Ivan Raut from Montenegro and senior Prokop Slanina from the Czech Republic are the top returning players. Will be another season at the bottom of the standings for the Rams.

14. George Washington

Head coach Maurice Joseph is going to need some time to get this turned around. Four of the top five leading scorers in conference play are gone from this team while Chris Sodom, a player that was expected to add depth in the post, left before ever playing a game. Sophomore Terry Nolan is going to have a lot of responsibility and he may not be ready for it yet. Going to be a long year in Foggy Bottom.

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BRACKETOLOGY: March 11, 2018 PM (Welcome Penn, Davidson, Kentucky, Georgia St, Cincinnati)

This is the final bracket.

Last Four In: Florida St, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas

Last Four Out: Arizona St, USC, Middle Tennessee, Saint Mary’s

Next Four Out: Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Marquette

SOUTH

1.Virginia(ACC)16.LIU-Brooklyn(NEC)/North Carolina Central(MEAC) Charlotte

8.Butler9.Texas A&M

5.Texas Tech12.Marshall(C-USA) Dallas

4.Houston13.South Dakota St(Summit)

6.Rhode Island11.Baylor/Oklahoma Detroit

3.Michigan St14.Wright St(Horizon)

7.Kansas St10.St. Bonaventure Nashville

2.Tennessee15.Iona(MAAC)

WEST

1.Xavier16.Radford(BSouth) Pittsburgh

8.Virginia Tech9.Missouri

5.Wichita St12.New Mexico St(WAC) San Diego

4.Arizona(P12)13.UNC-Greensboro(SoCon)

6.Miami(FL)11.Davidson(A10) Boise

3.Michigan(B10)14.Bucknell(Patriot)

7.Nevada10.Creighton Charlotte

2.North Carolina15.Penn(Ivy)

MIDWEST

1.Kansas(B12)16.Georgia St(SBelt) Wichita

8.Providence9.NC State

5.Ohio St12.San Diego St(MWest) Boise

4.Kentucky(SEC)13.College of Charleston(CAA)

6.Arkansas11.Texas/Florida St Wichita

3.Purdue14.Montana(BSky)

7.TCU10.UCLA Nashville

2.Duke15.UMBC(AEast)

EAST

1.Villanova(BEast)16.Cal St Fullerton(BWest)/Texas Southern(SWAC) Pittsburgh

8.Alabama9.Seton Hall

5.Gonzaga(WCC)12.Buffalo(MAC) San Diego

4.West Virginia13.Murray St(OVC)

6.Clemson11.Loyola-Chicago(MVC) Dallas

3.Auburn14.Lipscomb(ASun)

7.Florida10.Oklahoma St Detroit

2.Cincinnati(AAC)15.Stephen F. Austin(Southland)

The Long Wait (Welcome Creighton, Liberty)

Middle Tennessee St’s Shawn Jones

It’s going to be a long agonizing week for the Middle Tennessee St Blue Raiders after their upset loss at the hands of Florida International in the Sun Belt Conference semi-finals (more on this later).  They were dominant in the regular season winning all but one conference games, but March is cruel as the Blue Raiders know all too well.

Last year they bowed out of the conference tournament in the quarterfinals after being the No. 1 seed as they lost to Arkansas St.  They didn’t get in last season and their prospects are grim for this season.  While they played a top-20 non-conference schedule they only have two top-100 wins and no top-50.  The committee may reward them for challenging themselves out of conference, but it’s unlikely.

You feel bad for the Blue Raiders, but March is cruel and unusual punishment for a team of their kind.  The punishment this week will be waiting.

We have some conference tournament finals that I didn’t get a chance to preview so here’s some predictions for some of tonight’s finals.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Sundays two semi-finals had fantastic finishes so both teams may be spent emotionally.  Northeastern came from 24 down to beat George Mason while James Madison had some fortunate calls to preserve victory over Delaware.  It’s going to be hard for the Huskies to beat a Virginia school in Richmond though and I expect the Dukes to go dancing for the first time since 1994.

SUN BELT: Neither Florida International nor Western Kentucky is supposed to be here.  It’s the second year in a row the Hilltoppers shocked the world to reach the final while Richard Pitino has turned around Florida International in one year after Isaiah Thomas screwed that job up too.  The Golden Panthers are a nice story, but the Hilltoppers are used to this and will go dancing again.

SOUTHERN: I watched Davidson go to Charleston earlier this season and put a beat down on the Cougars earlier this season.  The margin may be closer, but the result will be the same.  The gold standard of SoCon basketball is going dancing again.

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: Here is another tournament where the teams playing weren’t expected to be here.  Iona is a solid program and has proven it can hang with good competition this season.  Manhattan, on the other hand, is the beneficiary of getting to play the No. 7 seed in the semifinals.  Iona has endured its share of heartbreak in this tournament the past few years, the Gaels will get the job done this time around.

We all so have some other tournaments getting started today.

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: It’s been an unusual year in the MEAC where two teams have been way ahead of the pack.  Last year’s NCAA tournament darling Norfolk St finished undefeated in league play and North Carolina Central finished with only one loss.  That loss didn’t come at the hands of the Spartans because the two didn’t play.  They will in the title game and the Spartans will repeat.

MID-AMERICAN: Akron was threatening to run away with this league and was possibly heading towards locking up an at-large bid.  Then came a surprising loss at Buffalo and the suspension of point guard Alex Abreu.  Those unfortunate series of events leave the Ohio Bobcats as the clear favorites to repeat as MAC champions and go to the big dance.

On to the Bracket:

Good for Games played thru 3/10

Last Four In: Virginia, Boise St, Tennessee, La Salle

Last Four Out: Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, Middle Tennessee St

MIDWEST

1.Indiana16.Florida International/Long Island  Dayton, OH

8.Wichita St9.San Diego St

5.Pittsburgh12.Bucknell Austin

4.Oklahoma St13.Louisiana Tech

6.VCU11.Minnesota Austin

3.Florida14.Valparaiso

7.Memphis10.Colorado St Philadelphia

2.Georgetown15.Florida Gulf Coast(ASun)

SOUTH

1.Louisville16.Southern/Liberty(BSouth)  Lexington, KY

8.NC State9.Temple

5.UCLA12.Tennesse/Boise St Salt Lake City

4.Kansas St13.Davidson

6.Creighton(MVC)11.Colorado Dayton, OH

3.Ohio St14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Butler10.Villanova Lexington, KY

2.Miami(FL)15.Iona

EAST

1.Duke16.Norfolk St Philadelphia

8.Iowa St9.Illinois

5.Saint Louis12.Cincinnati San Jose

4.Arizona13.Harvard(Ivy)

6.Syracuse11.Saint Mary’s Auburn Hills, MI

3.Michigan14.Vermont

7.UNLV10.California Kansas City

2.Kansas15.Long Beach St

WEST

1.Gonzaga16.Northeastern San Jose

8.Oregon9.Missouri

5.Wisconsin12.La Salle/Virginia Kansas City

4.Marquette13.Akron

6.Notre Dame11.Belmont(OVCSalt Lake City

3.New Mexico14.South Dakota St

7.North Carolina10.Oklahoma Auburn Hills, MI

2.Michigan St15.Montana

BRACKETOLOGY: Tuesday March 6, 2012 (Welcome Virginia Commonwealth, Loyola-MD, Saint Mary’s, Davidson)

Last Four In: Tennessee, Drexel, Texas, Colorado St

Last Four Out: South Florida, California, Oregon, NC State

SOUTH

1.Kentucky16.Savannah St/North Texas Louisville

8.Saint Louis9.Cincinnati

5.St. Mary’s(WCC)12.Texas Portland

4.UNLV13.Long Beach St

6.Wichita St11.Southern Mississippi Albuquerque

3.Baylor14.Montana

7.Florida St10.West Virginia Columbus

2.Michigan15.Valparaiso

WEST

1.North Carolina16.Stony Brook Greensboro

8.Memphis9.Purdue

5.Creighton(MVC)12.BYU Albuquerque

4.Georgetown13.Akron

6.Notre Dame11.Xavier Columbus

3.Wisconsin14.Davidson(SoCon)

7.New Mexico 10.Alabama Omaha

2.Missouri15.Bucknell

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.UNC-Asheville(BSsouth)/Mississippi Valley St Omaha

8.Louisville9.Mississippi St

5.Temple12.Miami(FL) Nashville

4.Indiana13.Colorado St/Drexel

6.Florida11.Washington Louisville

3.Marquette14.Belmont(ASun)

7.Gonzaga10.Harvard Pittsburgh

2.Ohio St15.UT-Arlington

EAST

1.Syracuse16.Long Island Pittsburgh

8.Kansas St9.Virginia

5.Murray St(OVC)12.Northwestern/Tennessee Portland

4.San Diego St13.Nevada

6.Vanderbilt11.Virginia Commonwealth(CAA) Nashville

3.Michigan St14.South Dakota St

7.Iowa St10.Connecticut Greensboro

2.Duke15.Loyola(MD)(MAAC)

In Graphical Form

Conference Tournament Predictions Continued

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: Iona has been on my radar since I watch it go blow-for-blow with Purdue in November.  This team can flatout score.  This is one of the most dangerous mid-majors in the country as it has three pros on the roster.  That being said, the Gaels don’t really care to much to play defense and that’s why a team like Loyola is a real threat.  Despite that, I don’t think Iona will be denied this year.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Up until mid-February, people were talking about the down year in the CAA.  Then came Bracketbusters where the CAA once again flexed its mid-major muscle.  Drexel, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason and Old Dominion all scored big wins leading many pundits to say this is a multi-bid league again.  I’m not so sure of that but I do know that Drexel and VCU will play a classic championship game.  That game will be won by Drexel.

SOUTHERN: Davidson served notice to the nation earlier this season when it beat Kansas.  It followed that impressive win up with a 16-2 league record.  The Wildcats have a solid RPI and is far and away the best team in this league, but I don’t have a good feeling about them winning the conference championship.  There’s one team though, which has been knocking on the door and that’s the College of Charleston.  The Cougars have won six of their last seven and they’ll carry that momentum into a SoCon championship.

SUN BELT: Middle Tennessee St put the nation on notice when it took UCLA apart in November.  With only five losses, the Blue Raiders have done that to most of their opponents this season.  This team is the class of the Sun Belt and, with the exception of Denver, has no peer.  The Blue Raiders are going dancing.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: You’re 17-1 in league play and one of the best mid-majors in the nation.  How are you rewarded – by playing the conference tournament on the homecourt of the second place team in the conference.  That’s what Oral Roberts’ dilemma is as it prepares for the conference tournament hosted by South Dakota St.  That South Dakota St team is responsible for Oral Roberts lone conference loss.  On March 6, it’ll be responsible for Oral Roberts’ second conference loss.

BIG SKY: Weber St and Montana went toe-to-toe all season long in a conference race that wasn’t decided until the last game of the regular season.  That game determined where the conference tournament would be played.  Unfortunately for Weber St, they’re going to have to go through the regular season champion Montana on its home court.  Not likely.  The Grizzlies are going to the NCAA tournament.

Conference Tournament Previews (Cont.)

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: For the past three years, Siena has been rolling through the MAAC like a warm knife through hot butter. The Saints once again coasted to the regular season title with a 17-1 record. They have shown vulnerabilities though. Not all of the Saints wins have been dominant and some have been downright close. Fairfield has a legitimate shot at pulling off the upset, but I don’t see it. The Saints seem to be extremely focused in their last two games and playing on their home floor will be a huge advantage. I expect Siena to go dancing again.

SOUTHERN: This will be one of the more competitive conference tournaments in the country. The SoCon has wins over schools from the Big East, ACC, SEC, and Atlantic 10 this season. Those wins came from Appalachian St., Western Carolina, College of Charleston and Wofford. Throw in Davidson and there will be some high-quality hoops in Charlotte this weekend. In the end, you have to go with the team that’s lost only one game this calendar year. I expect Wofford to make its first trip to the Big Dance.

WEST COAST: Once again, Gonzaga has proven to be the class of this league. It’s amazing to see the Bulldogs have the success they’ve had given the losses they sustain in the offseason. Despite that, Gonzaga has proven to be beatable this season and, over its record 11-year run, in the WCC tournament. Saint Mary’s and Portland are extremely capable of winning this tournament. There is a high probability of the two meeting in the semi-finals, a game in which Portland will win on their way to the WCC tournament title.

AMERICA EAST: The top four teams in the America East are separated by two games. Stony Brook, Vermont, Maine and Boston University are all capable of going dancing. However, there’s one team who clearly has the number of the other three. In its six meetings with Vermont, Maine and BU; Stony Brook has a 5-1 record. They’ve won 10 out of 11 and are looking very strong. The loss to New Hampshire is a bit alarming, but it was the last game of the season and Stony Brook had nothing left to play for. The Seawolves do now and they’ll be going dancing.

Big Bad Beasts

Pittsburghs Levance Fields and DeJuan Blair
Pittsburgh's Levance Fields and DeJuan Blair

I’ve thought Pittsburgh was one of the top teams in the country all year, but I was skeptical about them being able to win the national championship.  This past Saturday as I sat in the Verizon Center and watched them dismantle Georgetown, the Panthers changed my mind.

I knew about DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, and Sam Young.  However, Pitt’s supporting cast is what leads me to believe THIS is the Pitt team that will get over the hump and get past the Sweet 16.  This team can score, it’s athletic, and it is flat out the toughest team in the country.  Make no mistake about it, this is a team full of grown men.  They are going to bully themselves into the best season in the history of Pittsburgh basketball.

Stock Up: California.  No one is talking about them, but California is making some serious noise in the Pac-10.  With a Top-20 RPI and two top-50 wins already, it looks like the Golden Bears are ready to contend in a relatively weak Pac-10.  Remember the names: Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, and Theo Robertson.

Stock Down: Every Davidson starter NOT named Stephen Curry.  Please give the man some help.  Last year, you knew Curry was the first and second option for the Wildcats.  This year he appears to be the only option.  For Davidson to even sniff that kind of success, someone besides Curry is going to have to score on a consistent basis.

Davidson F Andrew Lovedale
Davidson F Andrew Lovedale

Stock Up: Boston College.  I’m rather shocked that North Carolina lost.  I’m even more shocked that they lost to BC.  Coach Al Skinner has a knack for finding hidden gems and being able to mold them to fit his personality; tough, gritty.  That’s exactly what this squad is. Tyrese Rice is the most underrated player in the ACC, but trust me, Roy Williams knows all about him.

Stock Down: Northwestern.  It was such a promising start for Bill Carmody’s Wildcats.  They were 7-1 and it appeared as if this might be the season they finally get to the tournament.  Alas, normalcy reigns and the Wildcats have lost three of their last four to come back down to earth.  There’s still time to turn it around, but that’s going to be a difficult task in the unforgiving Big Ten.

This week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: BYU, Washington, Arkansas, Texas A&M

Last Four Out: Oklahoma St, Creighton, Evansville, Utah

This Bracket is good for games played through Sunday, January 4, 2009.

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.Wagner Greensboro, NC

8.Arizona St9.Villanova

5.Marquette12.Utah St Portland, OR

4.Purdue13.Siena

6.Minnesota11.Arkansas Kansas City, MO

3.Texas14.Portland St

7.Boston College10.UNLV Philadelphia, PA

2.Syracuse15.East Tennessee St

MIDWEST

1.Duke16.Jacksonville St Greensboro, NC

8.Ohio St9.Memphis

5.West Virginia12.Washington Boise, ID

4.Xavier13.Western Kentucky

6.Michigan11.Maryland Minneapolis, MN

3.Notre Dame14.Vermont

7.Stanford 10.Gonzaga Kansas City, MO

2.Oklahoma15.Pacific

WEST

1.Connecticut16.Cornell Philadelphia, PA

8.Dayton9.Illinois

5.Tennessee12.Texas A&M Boise, ID

4.UCLA13.VMI

6.Baylor11.Davidson Miami, FL

3.Georgetown14.Lamar

7.St. Mary’s10.Butler Dayton, OH

2.Wake Forest15.Oakland

EAST

1.Pittsburgh16.Morgan St/Ark-Pine Bluff Dayton, OH

8.Missouri9.Wisconsin

5.Florida St12.BYU Portland, OR

4.California13.Miami(OH)

6.Kansas11.Illinois St Miami, FL

3.Clemson14.George Mason

7.Louisville10.Florida Minneapolis, MN

2. Michigan St15. Navy