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Old 11-30-2012, 07:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebaske...-rankings-a-10

For whatever value that these power rankings provide (which is none), it is a piece to discuss. Here is the blog post:

1. Saint Joseph’s. Phil Martelli’s team was picked to win the conference in the preseason, and it has done little to disabuse us of that notion to date. The Hawks already own wins over Notre Dame and a slightly hampered Harvard, with the one loss coming to an athletic but hardly vintage Florida State team. The Hawks play foul-free defense and efficient offense, and they have the look of a contender.

2. VCU. It is tempting to put the Rams up top, and I suspect they’ll be there more often than not throughout these rankings, but I’m giving St. Joe’s the benefit of the doubt for now. (We have plenty of time, after all. No rush.) Simply put, Shaka Smart’s team is almost certainly the best three-loss team in the country -- deep, athletic, highly attuned to Smart’s pressing havoc style and every bit the equal of the teams (Wichita State, Duke, Missouri) it lost to in November. Look out for the Rams.

3. Butler. The Bulldogs came out in the first nonconference conference game -- a pre-existing road game at Xavier -- and looked just about as bad offensively as last season, which is saying something. Since then, things have perked up. Led by newcomers Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham, Butler rediscovered its outside stroke in Maui, clawing out a thrilling win over Marquette and spanking a lost North Carolina.

4. Temple. It’s hard to get over the moon when a team’s win ledger reads Kent State, Rice, Delaware and Buffalo, but if you’ve seen Fran Dunphy’s team play, you’re aware how dangerous Scootie Randall and Khalif Wyatt are on the offensive end. This might not be Dunphy’s best side, but it will remain very much in the hunt throughout the season.

5. Saint Louis. It’s tough to rank Saint Louis too gently or harshly at this point. For one, the Billikens are still dealing with the loss of their coach, Rick Majerus, to ongoing serious health issues. They’re also fighting through an injury keeping their best player, guard Kwamain Mitchell, off the court. That helps explain Wednesday night’s blah loss at Washington (the Huskies didn’t play half-bad, either), as Saint Louis won’t really be whole until Mitchell returns.

6. Xavier. That ESPN Tip-Off Marathon game against Butler was a massacre. Xavier defended as well as possible, and Butler had no response. All of a sudden, an unrecognizable lineup (missing Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, Kenny Frease and Dezmine Wells) looked like it might just keep the Musketeers’ streak of success alive. I tend to give Chris Mack the benefit of the doubt (and why not?), but let’s see how Xavier holds up against a young Purdue team Saturday before we totally buy in.

7. UMass. I love me Chaz Williams -- there are few pleasures more palpable in my world than the drastically undersized but super-quick point guard -- but after UMass generated some preseason buzz, early returns are decidedly mixed. Wins over Harvard and Providence are all right (even if they came by a combined five points, and Wednesday’s win over Siena came by just one), but the two times UMass has played a quality opponent (NC State, Tennessee), it has been shellacked. A home date with Miami is on tap for Saturday. Call this stock a hold.

8. Charlotte. Charlotte is 6-0 and playing some good basketball (some of which came in the Great Alaska Shootout, which I didn’t even know still existed), especially on the defensive end, where it is holding opponents to the seventh-worst effective field goal percentage of any defense in the country. That is good. That said, to date, Charlotte has beaten Charleston Southern, Georgia Southern, Lamar, Texas State, Oral Roberts and Northeastern. Not exactly a murderer’s row. So I am willing to give Alan Major’s team some early love ... but I would not be shocked if it fell apart under even slightly more intense scrutiny.

9. La Salle. In case you needed another reason this conference is going to be so deep, look no further than La Salle. The Explorers aren’t national title contenders by any means, but they are one more trendy “Look out for X!” squad that could find its way into the NCAA tournament by season’s end. Ramon Galloway is a really nice player, particularly on the defensive end, and D.J. Peterson is a lights-out shooter. A loss to Central Connecticut doesn’t look great, but wins over Delaware and Villanova aren’t too shabby.

10. Richmond. Oh, speaking of quiet A–10 sleepers/tournament teams ... remember the Richmond Spiders? That team that went to the Sweet 16 two years ago? Right. Chris Mooney had a rebuilding project on his hands after that run, but he already has things moving in the right direction. The Spiders just have to prove it on the court. They haven’t beaten anyone of note yet, they were blown out by good Minnesota and Ohio teams, and they needed two overtimes to get past William & Mary on Wednesday night. Another definite hold, but don’t be surprised if they improve in a hurry.

11. St. Bonaventure. Life without Andrew Nicholson doesn’t look like it’s going to be very much fun. The Bonnies still have some solid upperclassmen here -- Demitrius Conger, Chris Johnson and a trio of junior starters -- but Nicholson was a total do-everything stud. Mark Schmidt’s bunch held tough at Ohio on Wednesday night (losing 69-64), but a loss at Canisus on Nov. 17 didn’t exactly portend a tournament future. Still, it’s early.

12. Dayton. It might be another one of those seasons for Dayton fans. They know what I mean already, but in case you don’t -- Dayton began its season in promising fashion, losing a solid effort to Colorado but beating high-majors Boston College and Auburn (both bad, but still) as well as Manhattan and Arkansas State (also both bad, but still). And then Wednesday night, it laid an egg at home, losing 62–61 to Weber State ... a year after Damian Lillard stopped playing basketball at Weber State. Hopefully, this type of frustrating inconsistency doesn’t become a trademark. UD fans deserve better.

13. Duquesne. For all the depth and strength of this realignment-smushed league, the modern A–10 has never been loaded all the way from top to bottom, and this is where it starts to get really ugly. Duquesne already owns losses to Albany and North Dakota State (the latter is actually not that bad, but at home, it doesn’t look good, either).

14. George Washington. GWU has made a bigger push into local D.C. recruits in recent seasons, hoping to compete on even the second tier of one of the nation’s most fertile recruiting landscapes. It has yet to pay off. The Colonials already own home losses to Youngstown State and Mount St. Mary’s, the latter being the worse of the two, and are playing some really ugly offense to boot.

15. Rhode Island
16. Fordham

Last week, genius extraordinaire Elon Musk was speaking at an Oxford conference thing and at one point called Mars “a bit of a fixer-upper.” That is roughly how you’d describe these last two programs, which already are a combined 2-11 this season (those Rhody did give George Mason a real fight at home Wednesday night), and, well, yeah. That's about all that needs to be said, for now.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Yeah it's hard to know what Temple is right now but luckily next week we will know it pretty well going at Villanova and heading to New Jersey to face Duke.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Villanova is pretty bad again. Temple should beat them if they are an A-10 contender.

Duke is a different animal. If they beat them that's a warning shot to the rest of the league for sure.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

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Duke is a different animal. If they beat them that's a warning shot to the rest of the league for sure.
Warning shot = death knell
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Yeah pretty much. If they beat Duke, Temple becomes the favorite.

I actually think St. Joe's will beat Creighton. They looked very human against Boise State the other night.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Just win as many OOC games as you can A10!

We'll sort out the rest starting in January!
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

My list is a bit different.

1)St. Joe’s. – Hawks have the league’s beest frontcourt and now the best backcourt with emergence of Chris Wilson. Depth is the biggest concern.

2)Temple – Owls have size and shooting, depth and experience. They defend well. Biggest weakness is the lack of great ball-handler. Soph PG Cummings has been erratic and senior TJ DiLeo is caretaker, though he’s done a good job. Be interesting to see how the Owls handle a pressure defense like VCU.

3)VCU – Rams can beat anyone in the country because of how hard they play on defense. The lack of consistent shooting and a clear go-to scorer against good teams is what puts VCU behind SJU and Temple. Juvonte Reddic is one of the best bigmen in the league.

4)Butler – Loss to Xavier appears to be an aberration. Butler also plays extremely hard and the Dogs are a veteran team that won’t get manhandled very often. Having only one reliable scorer makes Butler susceptible to teams with more firepower.

5)Xavier – More balance than I expected. PF Jeff Robinson is having a strong senior year, soph guard Dee Davis has stepped up and frosh Semaj Christon might be the best young guard to enter the league in a decade. Yet depth is very shallow and big noncon tests will soon come rapid fire.

6)Dayton – The Flyers starting backcourt is good but depth drops off quickly. The frontcourt is deeper but young and inconsistent. Probably some kind of postseason team, but one that will be prone to ups and downs.

7)St. Louis – Billikens are still playing good defense and they share the ball on offense, but the loss of Kwamain Mitchell will weigh on them like an anchor until he’s healthy. Without him SLU is just an upper middle of the pack team.

8)LaSalle – The Explorers have started out shaky because their trio of upperclassmen guards – Mills, Duren and Galloway – have not played well at the same time. Defense and rebounding have also been an issue at times. Enough talent, though, to be a contender.

9)Charlotte – Niners are big and physical at almost every position on the floor. Their defense is much improved and they crash the boards at both ends. If they can generate some consistent outside shooting, Charlotte could be the surprise team of the season.

10)St Bonaventure – The Bonas are a veteran team that doesn’t get rattled easily, but they are still finding their way offensively without Nicholson. Conger and especially Kloof have not fully stepped into the breach and the defense has been a letdown at times.

11)UMass – The Minutemen lack physicality and toughness with the graduation of center Sean Carter and injury to swngman Javorn Farrell. It’s evident by the struggling defense. And the offense has become too stagnant – players stand around watching Chaz Williams or hoist quick treys. Lot of talent here, but things have to change fast.

12)Richmond – The Spiders have good guard play and a lot of backcourt depth but no real star. And Derrick Williams isn’t getting enough help inside to win the frontcourt battle. The Richmond “bigs” are young and get pushed around. Richmond has a solid team that will get better but they are at least a year away from getting back into the upper echelon of the league.

13)Duquesne – The Dukes are still a fast-paced scoring bunch under new coach Jim Ferry and they have played better than expected. Yet bigger, more seasoned teams should handle Duquesne as long as they don’t let a track meet develop. Dukes are young and small.

14) GW – The Colonials have some good young talent in PG Joe McDonald, center Kevin Larsen and swingman Patricio Garino. They have been wildly inconsistent, however, because of erratic play by their upperclassmen. A bottom-of-the-pack team, to be sure, but capable of pulling some big upsets in A-10 action if seniors like Lasan Kromah come ready to play.

15) Rhode Island – Juco transfor Munford (19 ppg) has been one of the best players in the league and the Rams play very hard under new coach Danny Hurley. Talent and depth are just not there this year, however. URI has trouble scoring late in the game when teams double Munford.

16) Fordham. Rams have played surprisingly well without Chris Gaston even if the record doesn’t show it. Soph power forward Ryan Canty had a breakout game (and a bunch of dunks) in the loss to Manhattan. Young bigmen Travion Leonard and Ryan Rhoomes have also showed promise. The biggest struggles have surprisingly been in the backcourt, with the exception of the fine play of junior Brandan Frazier.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

For some reason I don't think a loss @ (a now 5-2) Albany team to open the season is a bad loss relative to Duquesne's current expectatons. I know, that is a pretty lame attempt at rationalizing a loss to an America East team... I am glad everyone has stopped calling for Duquesne to finish 16th though. That made me sick. Also, North Dakota State would beat several A-10 teams consistenly. They surprised me in their discipline and skill.

Even though they lost to Georgetown, they had a chance to win and only lost by 6 points. That is not a bad Georgetown team BTW, considering they lost to Indiana in OT and beat a #11 UCLA team. How did they only score 37 points against Tennessee though!? And win!? I'm glad I didn't buy tickets for that game. I think this will be a good team in March though.

The days of calling Duquesne small are fast dwindling. Expect 7'1 Martins Abele to play more and more as the season goes on and he gains stamina. And next year, forget it. They will quite large with at least 5 guys 6'8 or bigger.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Any uri fans getting excited about Jordan hare? Seems to be a shot blocking machine...
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

He's rapidly improved already this year and has become a force on the defensive end. He really helps on defensive break downs and his second jump is so quick it's ridiculous
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Rhody is going to take a big step up next season with all the new talent pouring in. Munford and Hare are nice players to build around and Powell is a solid PG.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

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9)Charlotte – Niners are big and physical at almost every position on the floor. Their defense is much improved and they crash the boards at both ends. If they can generate some consistent outside shooting, Charlotte could be the surprise team of the season.
If the Niners had consistent outside shooting, they'd be a title contender (not the favorite, but at least contending). But alas, that's unlikely to happen, so middle-of-the-pack at best seems most likely. Why such a wide swing? Because conference teams scout conference foes better and will be ready with a tightly packed defense against the Niners.

Two shooters on the team seem decent: Ingram and Benkovic. Both are true freshmen, Benkovic looks a bit limited on D and Ingram is still learning to cut down on turnovers and is a bit undersized (but once he puts it together should be a big contributor).
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:52 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

Benkovic has a sweet-looking shot, but he's a bit thin and less athletic than the rest of the Niners. His big limitation is defense. Ingram is too small to play shooting guard, perhaps the position for which he is best suited, and he's not going to get a lot of minutes at point with Henry around. Henry would be First Team if he had an outside shot.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

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For some reason I don't think a loss @ (a now 5-2) Albany team to open the season is a bad loss relative to Duquesne's current expectatons. I know, that is a pretty lame attempt at rationalizing a loss to an America East team... I am glad everyone has stopped calling for Duquesne to finish 16th though. That made me sick. Also, North Dakota State would beat several A-10 teams consistenly. They surprised me in their discipline and skill.

Even though they lost to Georgetown, they had a chance to win and only lost by 6 points. That is not a bad Georgetown team BTW, considering they lost to Indiana in OT and beat a #11 UCLA team. How did they only score 37 points against Tennessee though!? And win!? I'm glad I didn't buy tickets for that game. I think this will be a good team in March though.

The days of calling Duquesne small are fast dwindling. Expect 7'1 Martins Abele to play more and more as the season goes on and he gains stamina. And next year, forget it. They will quite large with at least 5 guys 6'8 or bigger.
Yawn. Wah Wah Wah

And WH, please stop posting. This is ridiculous. A little bit overreacting much? It's too early to make this bold of predictions... (and you know which one specifically I'm referring to, although the rest are pretty dumb as well)
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:00 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: ESPN Conference Power Rankings - A-10

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Benkovic has a sweet-looking shot, but he's a bit thin and less athletic than the rest of the Niners. His big limitation is defense. Ingram is too small to play shooting guard, perhaps the position for which he is best suited, and he's not going to get a lot of minutes at point with Henry around. Henry would be First Team if he had an outside shot.
Niners have actually had both on the court for significant stretches with Ingram often handling pg duties, so Henry is essentially at sg. It works pretty well so far. But Ingram is still making mistakes with the ball, so he has some maturation to do before he takes on more responsibilities at pg. And he'd probably struggling with bigger opposing pg's. He might be the best on the team at running the break though, makes very good decisions with the ball. Given that the other players on the team are such poor 3 pt. shooters, I actually think Ingram will get a fair amount of time on the court with Henry.

If Williams, Mayfield, or Henry decide to start hitting consistently from deep, things will get interesting.
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