Projecting the Atlantic 10

18 Oct

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

We looked at the top players in the Atlantic 10 already. So what about the 14 teams in the league? We rank ‘em on order of projected finish in the league.

Projected A-10 Standings

1. Xavier– They have the most talent in the conference and Chris Mack is a heck of a coach, throw in a more than challenging non-conference schedule and the Musketeers should be more than ready to take home another conference championship

2. Temple– If anyone is going to stand up to Xavier this season, the Owls have the best chance. Led by guards Ramon Moore and Juan Fernandez, Temple has the backcourt to match Xavier. If they can find someone to replace Lavoy Allen the A-10 race will be closer than most people expect.

3. St. Bonaventure– While this might seem as a surprise pick as some, it is impossible for an A-10 team to shut down Andrew Nicholson. He can carry them and will do so at times throughout the season. As long as Nicholson stays healthy throughout the season expect the Bonnies to be relevant.

4. Saint Louis– Rick Majerus has a veteran squad that returns plenty of talent, last year many people thought that they would challenge for the league title. With the return of Kwamain Mitchell to an already talented program this might be the year that they win the championship.

5. Richmond– There is no denying that the Spiders will be a very different team with the loss of Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper. Coach Mooney himself has mentioned that losing a big like Harper especially hurts. A suddenly unproven Spiders squad could still challenge for the A-10 title.

6. Dayton– Archie Miller inherits a team that lacks much firepower behind Chris Johnson. While they figure to be a middle of the pack team this season, if Archie Miller can recruit halfway as well as his brother does, it will only be a matter of time before the Flyers are back on top of the A-10.

7. Duquesne– T.J. McConnell and B.J. Monteiro will be leaders for Ron Everhart and the Dukes. Mike Talley and Sean Johnson should also be able to start or back up McConnell and Monteiro, giving Duquesne one of the most talented and deep backcourts in the country. The real question is who will step up in the frontcourt. The Dukes had a problem with rebounding last season, and now that their top two rebounders have graduated it will be an even bigger problem this season. If they can find a couple of bigs who can rebound effectively than they could be a dark horse for the championship.

8. St. Joe’s– Once the class of the A-10 the Hawks have slipped a little bit in the past few seasons. Langston Galloway leads a group of four talented sophomores that are hungry to prove they are better than last year’s disappointing season. Before the A-10 tournament St. Joes struggled and had just 8 wins, now after making it to the A-10 semifinals, it is easy to see how this group is hungry for more. While they are still likely a year or two away from making serious noise in the league, don’t be surprised if the Hawks sneak into title contention.

9. George Washington– GW only returns one starter this year, lucky for them it’s Tony Taylor, a do-it-all point guard. Joining Taylor will be junior Lasan Kromah, who was second on the team in scoring before missing all of last season with an injury. First year Coach Mike Longeran will need to get this squad to buy into this system if George Washington wants any shot at the title.

10. Rhode Island– Jim Baron has a young but athletic team on his hands for this season. Leading the youngsters will be junior forward Nikola Malesevic and senior guard Jamal Wilson. Malesevic is one of the best three point shooters in the nation and will continue to provide a scoring punch for the Rams as soon as he steps on the floor. The key to this season will be how quickly the freshmen mature.

11. Charlotte– Alan Major had a terrible first season as a head coach but that was due to a bevy of injuries and suspensions that decimated the roster. Now the 49ers are returning four starters including Derrio Green and Chris Braswell. A talented group of freshmen will also join the fray and provide depth to a team that needs it. The 49ers are at least a year away from being serious contenders.

12. UMass– The Minutemen are finally comprised of players that Coach Derek Kellog wanted to bring in to play his style. As they focus on playing more up-tempo it will be interesting to see if UMass can make a run at the A-10 title. While it’s a long shot that they are competitive this season it will be interesting to see how they develop in the future.

13. La Salle– Losing big man Aaric Murray to transfer is a huge blow for a program that was a middle of the pack with him on the roster. Now La Salle will look to point guard Tyreek Duren to lead the explorers this season. Simply put the Explorers just don’t have the talent to compete in the A-10, expect a rough season for La Salle.

14. Fordham– Even though the Rams have Chris Gaston, one of the top players in the conference, they figure to be at the bottom of the A-10 once again. Gaston doesn’t have enough help around him to contend for the league crown, and although a talented group of freshmen are coming in, it doesn’t figure to be the Rams year.

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