2012: A shocking year for the A-10
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:02
While the country is swept away with "Linsanity," fans of the Atlantic 10 are experiencing their own madness. The rollercoaster season known as conference play kicked off with Xavier's loss to La Salle on Jan. 4. Xavier's loss was followed by Temple's loss to Dayton just a few days later. Traditionally, Xavier, Temple and Dayton are the top teams
in the A-10, but this year the conference has seen a shake-up. Possibly the biggest surprise team so far has been St. Bonaventure, who won five out of its first seven
conference games, including a win over Dayton. Another team in the A-10 that is surging is Saint Louis University.
The Billikens are one of the top teams in the conference this year and are poised to make the NCAA tournament according to ESPN. After dropping two of its first three games, SLU went on to win seven of its next eight with wins
over Xavier and Dayton. If the teams that are currently
sitting at the top of the A-10 are surprising, the absence of the usual suspects is also bewildering. Xavier has traditionally dominated the A-10 and has won the last five
regular season crowns. This year Xavier is no longer in the driver's seat and instead is playing a game of catch-up against teams that are usually ranked well below the
Musketeers. The fall from grace has been even harder for our I-75 neighbors this year. Dayton may have wins over Saint Louis, Xavier and Temple, but they have lost to teams
such as Duquesne, Rhode Island and St. Joseph's. Even Fordham was a struggle for Dayton this year as the Rams took the Flyers to overtime. Both Xavier and Dayton need
a big win and the two teams will square off this Saturday night at Cintas Center. While this rivalry game is always important, this meeting takes on an even larger role given the madness in the A-10. Currently, ESPN is predicting Xavier, Saint Louis and Temple to make the NCAA tournament.
Dayton is listed as a bubble team that is close to making the big dance. With how crazy the A-10 has been this year, it is almost impossible to predict the tournament teams, but this Saturday's matchup should make the picture clearer.