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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just starting to catch up with goings-on around the league.

Unfortunately no previews of any sort. Lot of stuff going on in my life now and I probably will never do any in-depth team looks again. I still enjoy A-10 hoops, though, and the disappointment at losing Temple especially has been eased by the addition of VCU and Butler. More changes are probably likely for the league in the near future, the way things are going.

Really, I never, ever thought the league would add Butler. I used to think it was a pipe dream. VCU, I could see. But Butler? Never would have happened under the prior league commish, Linda Bruno. Our current commish is pretty darned aggressive.

The loss of Temple obviously shifts the power away from Philly for good. Now we have a combined Northeast-upper Southeast-upper Midwest profile. Odd but workable. No different than what we see in the big BCS football leagues.

*My league favorite is St. Louis, even without Rick Majerus on the sideline. His replacement is a fine coach with the same defensive-mindedness. The Bills have too much experience to quickly forget RM’s teaching and their guard play and offensive firepower can equal almost any team in the league. Their tempo won’t result in huge scoring games, but the Bills have the best balance of any A-10 team.

*I think SJU and UMass are the next most talented teams in terms of experience, balance, size, scoring and backcourt play. I like the Minutemen better overall, but give the edge to St. Joe’s because of coaching. This will be the best SJU team, IMO, since the Elite 8 team (though the NIT Hawks squad the following year was also quite good.)

*The injury to Javorn Farrell at UMass puts more pressure on sophs Max Esho and Cady Lalanne to solidify a frontcourt that should dominate in A-10 play. I hate the idea of Freddie Riley as the only reliable backcourt player off the bench and the necessity to play Jesse Morgan at backup PG. A good coach would get this team to the NCAA, however. Big year and lot to prove for Kellogg.

*VCU looks to me to be the fourth most talented team in the league. Yet a lack of size and inconsistent outside shooting will be quickly spotted as weaknesses by other A-10 teams and exploited. I expect VCU to play really well at home with its uptempo attack, but struggle on the road in league play. Especially look forward to seeing VCU play in Olean. Mark it down now, VCU fans. You are going to lose that one!

*This is obviously the year for A-10 teams to get payback vs. Xavier. The Muskies will have their worst performance in the league since the first year they joined. No way to get around it. Home court advantage will deliver some close wins, but X is going to get blasted on the road.

*Temple looks a bit down too, but looks can be deceiving. Dunphy is a master coach in the regular season. With Wyatt and a healthy Scootie Randall, the Owls will be able to score. Guys like Lee and Hollis Jefferson will do the defensive dirty work. Temple will be solid again and vie for the league title because of their system and their coach.

*LaSalle is my kinda-sorta sleeper. They shouldn’t be. After all, they only lost Earl Pettis. The backcourt is arguably the best in the league and Jerrell Wright is a stud up front. Yet the Explorers need someone else to step up inside and develop a swingman who can handle small forwards on the other team. DrG’s best team is this one. NIT at least or he should be let go.

*Butler is like Temple. A team with a fine coach, great system and attention to defense. I think Butler is a bit undersized this year and, like VCU, the Bulldogs need to find a few consistent three-point shooters. I figure a middle-of-the-pack finish. The long roadtrip to Indianapolis will stump many an A-10 team just like visits to St. Louis do.

*St. Bonaventure clearly has a big loss with Nicholson graduating. Yet this team has lots of size and experience and a young but talented backcourt. I expect the Bonnies to be an above-average team and give most opponents in the A-10 fits. Olean is still not a great place for road teams to visit.

*Rhode Island and Duquesne will be the league doormats this season. Coaching changes and major roster turnover, particularly at Duquesne, will hurt. I suspect the Dukes will finish last.

*Fordham continues to move up in the standings. The Rams got better as last season wore on even if the record didn’t show it. The team is still young, but there is more experience and size. The backcourt is pretty good with Frazier, McMillan and Bryan Smith. Gaston vies for league POY.

*Dayton has a fine point guard in Kevin Dilliard and two solid bigmen in Josh Benson and Matt Kavanaugh. After that, though, and there lots of questions. Vee Sandford, Georgetown transfer, will have to step in and step up right away. Hard for me to see this team getting to the postseason given what I know now. An above-.500 team, probably, but not much more.

*Richmond has a potentially dynamite backcourt and at least one good power player in Derrick Williams. Whether the team makes a run at the top of the league depends on how quickly some of the young frontcourt players fill an obvious void. This team is a wild card. They could be very good, but I suspect Richmond is one year away.

*Charlotte is a lower middle-of-the-pack team, it looks like. Some good building blocks in senior Braswell and sophs Henry, Williams and Nickerson. Good coaches tend to show their mettle by the second or third year. If the Niners are getting better, this is the year Major has to prove it. The roster is mostly his now. A rising team should pull some upsets at home and start stealing a few games on the road.

HERE IS MY REGULAR SEASON FORECAST, updated with league records

1)TEMPLE 12-4
2)ST. LOUIS 12-4
3)UMASS 12-4
4)VCU 11-5
5)ST. JOES 11-5
6)LASALLE 10-6
7)DAYTON 9-7
8)BUTLER 9-7
9) RICHMOND 9-7
10)ST. BONA 8-8
11)GW 6-10
12)CHARLOTTE 5-11
13)XAVIER 5-11
14)FORDHAM 4-12
15)DUQUESNE 3-13
16)RHODY 3-13
 

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Thanks WH. Anything from you is better than nothing.

I probably will never do any in-depth team looks again
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Discussion Starter #5
Maybe no previews, but I will drill down a bit more. I am reviewing the new recruits for each team and reading all the local papers and chat boards on team happenings. Hate to see X's top two recruits get tagged by the clearinghouse. Not good for the league.

After a cursory review, the A-10 does seem awfully young. Fortunately we have a handful of experienced teams with the talent to vie for postseason bids. I could see 6-7 teams getting invites to the NCAA and NIT.
 

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Any thoughts on GW? Excitement level for the future if off the charts, although next year will be tough with a freshman point guard.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Any thoughts on GW? Excitement level for the future if off the charts, although next year will be tough with a freshman point guard.
I knew I forgot a team. GW seems to have upgraded its roster and I like coach Lonergan, but no experienced point guard in the Colonials' system almost certainly guarantees that GW struggles. Unless, of course, Mr Joe is a freshman stud - he might just be.

Pellom's injury is a concern. Kromah has to have his biggest year yet and Smith really has to start putting it all together for this team to really move up. I do like that blue-collar power forward Kopriva and Mikic is a good guy to stretch defenses.

I figure a finish from 9-13, but a lot depends on the point.
 

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No Dukes either - but I figured that one was on purpose.
 

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Hate to see X's top two recruits get tagged by the clearinghouse. Not good for the league.
Luckily is WASN'T X's top two recruits. Christon is gonna have to carry a lot of weight for a freshman. Hope you're wrong about 14th but that's why they play the games.
 

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Will be interesting to see overall reaction to WH's predicted order of finish. Usually, everyone gets on here and lines up to blow WH....But that will be tested with his prediction that Xavier and Dayton will struggle.

To me, WH is one of the best at explaining the thought process behind his expectations. Much better to read some actual analysis than the simple "No way my team finishes ninth!" stuff we often see. But over the years, I don' think that has led to a markedly higher level of accuracy than anyone else that puts their predictions on here. So, take heart, Musketeer, Butler, and Dayton fans. Lots of ball to be played.
 

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I agree with SpiderDave's observations from having read several threads by WH in the past.

I appreciate the thought and effort that went into this. It's nice to read the thought-out reasoning behind your opinions for where you placed each team. Most don't take the time to do that and it makes for a better reading experience.

I don't think VCU will finish 5th with the attrition at Xavier, Majerus leaving SLU, or the way St. Joe's ended last year, but I'm also absolutely biased. I don't think we're the favorite either, but I do see us in the 2-4 range. It's really not a big difference either way. These posts are meant to stimulate discussion and in that respect it was successful.

As with all preseason conjecture, it should be fun to see how the rankings pan out once the season is over. We're the new kid on the block, so I'm sure there will be an adjustment, and your comment about road venues being a challenge is taken in-stride and I think a valid concern for VCU. I too think the road game in Olean will be one of those sneaky tough road venues where we can take a L many of our fans probably won't expect and I have stated that before.

I do think getting UMass, St. Joe's and La Salle along with Butler, Dayton, and Richmond at home was a nice draw for us. We don't lose much at home and have the 11th highest home winning percentage in the country only behind Xavier in the A-10. Getting Fordham at home was also nice as they seem to have been able to pull off big upsets at Rose Hill recently.

SLU and Temple will be tough on the road. I agree that St. Bona will also be a sneaky tough one. X now looks to be in that same category. I would have put X with SLU and Temple as a game I don't expect to win at all before this offseason. X rarely loses at Cintas from what I understand. Both SBU and X are games VCU should be favored to win by the conventional wisdom and what we return, but that counts for about as much as my post, which is nothing.

I don't see us losing to Duquesne or Charlotte on the road. Our program has some bad blood with Charlotte dating back to our exit from the Metro Conference and a lot of our fans will be juiced to send them off to C-USA with a loss. Pierria' Henry was a VCU verbal at one point before committing to Charlotte so that's another subplot to the match-up.

Richmond at the Robins Center is a wild-card as a rivalry game. Who knows what happens there? I think we have the better team, but I'm sure they'll be plenty motivated to show us how they want the rivalry to look in the A-10. I do think we should be the better team in all our road games outside of Temple and SLU, but that may be my naivete speaking. It should be interesting. This is no doubt a tougher league, with stronger frontcourts, and more talent across the board regardless of projections and records.

I can't wait to see how it goes down.
 

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I like the high rating you gave SJU. They really impressed me last year. I won't even venture a guess about UD until I see them play at least a few practice games. Half of our players have never played a game in a UD uniform.

The coaching transition last year created a gap in the recruiting where we only had one new guy on the team last year. It will be interesting to see if we can heal that up quickly with the big influx of new faces this year.
 

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Thanks WH, look forward and enjoy your posts. Looking forward to Nov 13 when the competition starts.

Curious to see how Cady and Jesse look and not sure what to expect with Sampson. Hope his hip is good and the shoulder is not serious. We'll get to see "Trey" Davis and the freshmen. Don't put much stock in exhibition game as one maybe scheduled.
 

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Appreciate the thoughts as always, WH.

I'm hoping that you're underestimating the Niners. Problem is, it would be probably only the 2nd time you've done so, so I understand why folks don't expect much from them. The coach is still a question-mark in my view, just because it's clear now he was blowing up the team in slow-motion but not clear that he can develop players yet. I'm surprised you left out Mayfield in your "building blocks" list, assuming you didn't just mean underclassmen since Braswell was in there. He brought his shooting out of the dumps by the end of last year. If he continues to shoot better, he will help this team tremendously, given the lack of other outside shooters.

In your ranks, I'd say the Bonnies and Fordham are a little high (and maybe Richmond, but they are tough to figure this year), and Charlotte and Butler a touch low. I'd include Xavier in that too low group, but they are now an injury or two away from playing walk-ons significant minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Will be interesting to see overall reaction to WH's predicted order of finish. Usually, everyone gets on here and lines up to blow WH....But that will be tested with his prediction that Xavier and Dayton will struggle.

To me, WH is one of the best at explaining the thought process behind his expectations. Much better to read some actual analysis than the simple "No way my team finishes ninth!" stuff we often see. But over the years, I don' think that has led to a markedly higher level of accuracy than anyone else that puts their predictions on here. So, take heart, Musketeer, Butler, and Dayton fans. Lots of ball to be played.
I guarantee you, spiderdave, a check back would find me much more accurate than most preseason pubs! (-:

But yes, this is why we play the games. Nobody can predict the future. Somewhat easier to mark the best and worst teams but the middle is always tough.

In my experience, the A-10 rarely has more than one team that dramatically exceeds consensus expectations and is a surprise contender for league title. Underperformers are more common, usually because of injuries or bad chemistry.

Scheduling is also a big wild card. Who you play on the road in an unbalanced (no round robin) sked can skew some records for better or worse. I still need to look at everyone's A-10 home-away skeds to see who got the best draw.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I left Mayfield out just because I wanted to keep it short. He impressed me in A-10 play, but the sophs will determine how far this team goes. I love Henry – reminds me a bit of Dennis Johnson - but a few other youngsters really need to make that leap.

I had Butler at 8 and 9 before settling on 10. I do place great weight on coaching, so that might be too low. But a team short on size and shooting in the A-10, and lacking an established point, rarely finishes in the top half. Stevens has his work cut out for him.

Fordham, admittedly, is a hunch. I am expecting the Rams backcourt to make a big leap. Percora made them much more competitive last season and he’s got a lot of guards, athleticism and depth on the roster. But I could see Fordham stuck in the bottom three again.

As for Bona, I have seen many an A-10 team lose a big star (or more) but do very well the next season. SJU, Xavier, GW and Temple have all done that in the past decade. Bona has nine players who have seen extended minutes at some point in their career.

I like the backcourt, too. Mosley, Wright, Kloof and Gathers are a nice quartet and Michael Davenport is back.
 

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Well, this certainly puts us in a great spot to sneak up on people.

I would expect VCU to do a little better, and LaSalle not quite to #6.
FWIW, Blue Ribbon will have VCU at #2 in the A-10 when it comes out and I have that on good authority.

I think Saint Louis is the healthy favorite for several reasons that have been hashed and re-hashed.

No one really knows, but it's fun to talk about. Realistically VCU could be anywhere from 1-6 this year.
 
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