By Josh Neighbors
If you came here for standard analysis of the Atlantic 10 conference tournament, you have come to the wrong place. This is not a preview.
This is a betting guide to the best damn non power-four conference (yeah, you heard me Pac-12) in America. I will be giving thre teams a designated title in this tournament to give you all a better idea of how I feel about their odds.
The A-10 has sent multiple teams to the NCAA tournament the past 13 seasons and at least three teams in 11 of those 13 seasons. That streak… not too confident its going to continue. Let’s take a look at the odds (according to the Action Network), and see what this conference has to offer.
The “Oh my God is this team going to pull a Virginia: win the regular season title, and then the conference tournament while playing a ridiculously boring style of basketball” Team: Virginia Commonwealth Rams (24-6, 15-2 A-10) -140
Full disclosure, I am a lifelong Rams fan. Both of my parents went to dental school there. I grew up 15 minutes away from campus. I had season tickets in 2011 when the Rams went to the Final Four. To be quite honest, VCU has underachieved since their Final Four run… This team would beat that team by 30 points.
Shaka Smart and Will Wade thought they had great defenses while they were at VCU. Mike Rhoades, after two dreadful years at Rice and one really lackluster year back in Richmond said, “Hold my beer fam.”
VCU top 10 in the nation in scoring defense, opponents FG %, and opponents three-point percentage. The Rams have held their opponents under 60 points 14 times this season. Oh yeah, they have also won 12 straight. I have not mentioned an individual player in this break down because VCU does not really have any player of note. Their leading scorer is tied for 20th in the conference in scoring per game. I expect the Rams to rock fight their way to a title in Brooklyn this week.
The “Hey don’t worry Atlantic 10 conference brass, we will make sure we send 2 teams to the Big Dance this year” team: Davidson Wildcats (22-8, 13-4 A-10) +400
There is nobody else the Atlantic 10 conference governing body would like to see win this tournament than the Davidson Wildcats. Davidson needs to win this tournament if they want to make the NCAA tournament. Here is why they could.
They have two of the top three scorers in the conference in Kellan Grady and Jon Axel Gudmunsson. They have a coach with 31 years of experience in Bob McKillop. They have a win against VCU this season. Scoring droughts and defensive lapses will end up being their downfall in my just opinion, but hey +400 is pretty good value.
The “Kemba Walker/Why not us?” team: St. Louis Billikens (19-12, 10-6 A-10) +2000
This teams chance to make a deep run rests on the scoring of Tramaine Isabell Jr. (yes, former Missouri guard Tramaine Isabell). He has the ability to take over a tournament- especially in this setting. They will have a great chance to gain some momentum against either Fordham and Richmond, which would lead to a matchup against a very beatable 3-seed Dayton. They would not have to see VCU until the championship game. Travis Ford’s group has a good shot and very friendly odds to win the A10 tournament.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org