Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Atlantic-10 Conference Preview


The Atlantic-10 went through a roller-coaster regular season in which it went from having six projected bids to the NCAA Tournament at one point to earning three on Selection Sunday. There was also a great race for first-place in the standings between Xavier, Temple and Richmond, with the Musketeers and Owls finishing tied at 14-2, and the Spiders ending up one game back. Saint Louis was a second-half spoiler and went 11-5, while Rhode Island and Charlotte finished 9-7. Dayton was 8-8. The conference tournament saw Temple and Richmond advance to the title game, with Temple escaping with a win by four points. In the NCAA Tournament, Xavier made a run to the Sweet 16 before losing in an epic game to Kansas State, while Temple and Richmond suffered upsets in the first round. Dayton won the NIT, and Saint Louis lost in the finals of the CBI. Look for another battle for bids in the Atlantic-10.

  • 1. Temple: The Owls could win the conference by more of a cushion this season, as guard Juan Fernandez and forward Lavoy Allen form a top-notch inside-outside duo. Ramone Moore is a scorer.
  • 2. Xavier: The Musketeers lose Jordan Crawford and Jason Love, but Tu Holloway is back to run the squad. The key will be up front, where Jamel McLean and Kenny Frease need to step up.
  • 3. Richmond: Player of the Year Kevin Anderson is back, but he’s without his sidekick, David Gonzalvez. Justin Martin is capable of a breakout season in the frontcourt. Freshmen need to contribute.
  • 4. Dayton: The forward tandem of Chris Wright and Chris Johnson return for the Flyers, but the biggest factor could be freshman point guard Juwan Staten. He should start immediately.
  • 5. Charlotte: The 49ers were in the mix for an NCAA bid before fading late in the season, but they could make a run this season. Guard Derrio Green and forwards Shamari Spears and Chris Braswell form a solid trio.
  • 6. Rhode Island: The Rams have a lot of solid pieces on the roster, but some of the role players need to become bigger contributors. The go-to-guy will be Delroy James, who is poised for a big season.
  • 7. Duquesne: Look out for the Dukes. They have plenty of scoring, with four double-figure scorers returning. Moreover, forward Damian Saunders is one of the best all-around players in the country.
  • 8. Saint Louis: The late losses of Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed really hurt a team that was expected to make a run at an NCAA bid this season. Now, Cody Ellis will have to shoulder the load.
  • 9. La Salle: Three double-figure scorers are gone, but there is optimism in Philadelphia. Aaric Murray is an NBA prospect at center, while guard Ruben Guillandeaux should be healthy.
  • 10. Massachusetts: The Minutemen have plenty of perimeter talent, with guard Anthony Gurley and wings Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson, as well as some newcomers. Someone needs to play down low.
  • 11. George Washington: Big things are expected from swingman Lasan Kromah, who is an all-conference candidate. He combines with heady point guard Tony Taylor to form a nice backcourt duo.
  • 12. Saint Joseph’s: If the Hawks’ talented freshmen class makes an immediate impact, this ranking could be too low. They also have a pair of solid returnees in Carl Jones and Idris Hilliard.
  • 13. St. Bonaventure: Andrew Nicholson, one of the more underrated big men in the country, carries the Bonnies at both ends of the floor. Michael Davenport is the man on the perimeter.
  • 14. Fordham: The Rams went winless in conference play last season, but they have the talent to win a game this year. New coach Tom Pecora will lean on Chris Gaston and Brenton Butler.

Player of the Year: Kevin Anderson, G, Richmond

Newcomer of the Year: Juwan Staten, G, Dayton

All-Conference Team:

  • G- Kevin Anderson, Richmond
  • F- Chris Wright, Dayton
  • F- Lavoy Allen, Temple
  • F- Damian Saunders, Duquesne
  • C- Aaric Murray, La Salle

Second Team:

  • G- Juan Fernandez, Temple
  • G- Tu Holloway, Xavier
  • F- Shamari Spears, Charlotte
  • F- Chris Gaston, Fordham
  • C- Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure

Third Team:

  • G- Lesan Kromah, George Washington
  • G/F- Bill Clark, Duquesne
  • F- Chris Johnson, Dayton
  • F- Delroy James, Rhode Island
  • F- Justin Harper, Richmond

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