With the start of the college basketball season just three days away, it’s time to start weighing in with our final predictions. And when it comes to projecting the Atlantic 10 standings, eight different picks will likely get you eight completely different ideas. The top couple of teams are pretty much the same no matter which site you look at; the same goes for the bottom few. But anything in between is wide open. The Duquesne Dukes site We Wear the Ring reached out to a few bloggers to submit their projections, and here’s a look at what we submitted. You can check out the final results here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).
1. VCU (A-10 Preseason Poll: 1) – If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s not to bet against Shaka Smart. With Reddic, Graham, and Brandenberg coming back, it’s looking like another Sweet 16 year for the Rams.
2. Saint Louis (A-10 Preseason Poll: 2) – Much like VCU, the Billikens retained much of their roster from a year ago. Jim Crews has been hired full time, so look for SLU to make another run at the A-10 Championship.
3. La Salle (A-10 Preseason Poll: 3) – Yes, Ramon Galloway is gone. But Duren and Garland are no joke; Dr. John and the Explorers (great name for a band, by the way) could dance once again.
4. Massachusetts (A-10 Preseason Poll: 4) – Can the Minutemen finally live up to their high expectations? History says no but we says yes. Chaz Williams will lead UMass into bubble territory.
5. Rhode Island (A-10 Preseason Poll: 9) – Sound the homerism alarm. The additions of Gilvydas Biruta and E.C. Matthews are going to more than double Rhody’s win total from a year ago (8) as the rebuilding process starts to show results.
6. George Washington (A-10 Preseason Poll: 10) – Here’s your player to watch in the A-10 this year: Joe McDonald. The Colonials could close in on 20 wins, especially considering their weak non-conference schedule.
7. Dayton (A-10 Preseason Poll: 7) – The loss of Kevin Dillard will set the Flyers back a bit, for sure. Keep an eye on Kendall Pollard; the freshman swingman could make Dayton a little better than expected this season.
8. Saint Joseph’s (A-10 Preseason Poll: 5) – Langston Galloway is back, but the Hawks just don’t have enough offensive firepower to hang with the big teams in the A-10. We’re not buying them having as much success this season as others think.
9. Richmond (A-10 Preseason Poll: 6) – Darien Brothers is gone, so Derrick Williams is going to have to step up and carry the offensive load this season. The Spiders will give some teams fits, but it’s hard to see them improving from a year ago.
10. George Mason (A-10 Preseason Poll: 8) – Ahh, the A-10 newcomers. Most fans haven’t seen the Patriots in action recently, but they won’t embarrass themselves this year. Sherrod Wright could contend for First Team All-Conference in his first year in the league.
11. St. Bonaventure (A-10 Preseason Poll: 12) – Demitrius Conger and Eric Mosley are gone. With freshman Jalen Adams likely ineligible, the Bonnies are going to struggle to find scoring this season.
12. Duquesne (A-10 Preseason Poll: 13) – If McDonald is player to watch 1, then Derrick Colter is 1a. Outside of him though, there’s not much to be excited about for the Dukes this season.
13. Fordham (A-10 Preseason Poll: 11) – Has Fordham ever NOT been picked last? Chris Gaston is gone, and so are Fordham’s chances. Travion Leonard will improve, but it won’t be enough to get the Rams moving in the right direction.