What's up guys. It is that time of the year to make more money...Looking forward to this year for sure and hopefully another profitable one. I do soley A-10 hoops and have for the past few years on this site. For those that wonder why, well I went to URI, got a chance to follow all these teams closely, and have continued to do so since graduating a handful of years back. Lets get right to it.
Last year in the A-10, we had 3 dancers. Temple, X and Dayton. Dayton made a nice little win against WVU...but not a ton of success for the conference tourney wise. X got bounced before they should have. Anyways, this is my thread to give an insight into what to expect this year (pretty much just my opinion) of what these teams have to offer. I will give their record last year, conf play and overall, mention some graduation losses, and a few comments about what to expect this coming year. I will break down the teams in alphabetical order...so you guys will have to wait for X til the end...
Great shot to dance: Dayton, Xavier
Decent shot: LaSalle, Richmond
Outside/little shot: Everyone else sans GW and Fordham
As a whole, the conference I think will take a step down in terms of team dominance. So many big names graduated, while not quite as many big stars remain. Xmas, Brown, Nivins, Baron to name a few have all departed for greener pastures, NBA, overseas, etc. While it is POSSIBLE that Dayton lives up to the hype and X's young cast makes a run, I wouldnt bank on it. At this point, Id say we could dance 3, but 2 is more likely.
Now let me get to the teams...alphabetical order of course.
Charlotte: (5-11) (10-18)
Last year was very disappointing for Charlotte IMO. They looked to be to many, as well as myself a sleeper team with potential damage. That was not the case. I thought their rebounding and scoring would be better and I liked Coley and Mack. Now Coley and Mack are gone, and they are losing a lot of scoring and rebounding. BC transfer and big boy Shamari Spears should be a great addition to the front court for Lutz, as well as a highly touted Frosh in Braswell. Dijuan Harris is one of the best PG's in the league if not the best PURE PG. He had a ton of assists last year and I think Charlotte will continue that trend with him. Ian Anderson is back and their best 3pt threat, but he still shoots to inconsistent. Charlotte will have 3pt issues and to me is a key. Anderson needs to improve otherwise he will lose minutes to other backcourt members. Charlotte may turn into a team that lays off the 3 and just pounds it inside with their new boys (Sherrill, Sirin and Braswell). Probably depends on how good they become. This team to me is still somewhat of an enigma, as their front court is completely different. Their front court has a little bit of depth as does their backcourt. Charlotte COULD surprise, but Im not going to bank on it...
Dayton: (11-5) (27-8)
This team was typical Dayton. Good defense, poor 3pt shooting, timely scoring with flashes of brilliance. Run by London Warren, who is a little pesky fly running that court, but couldnt shoot to save his life, they really did well. I think losing Lowery late last year was a BLOW to that team. I liked him as a back up PG and he will get a lot more playing time this year. Its Chris Wright's. I dont know the record off hand but with him in the lineup their record of the last 2 years is staggeringly good. He is a potential lottery pick, who is extremely strong, quick, and aggressive on the floor. Nearly the entire team is returning and only 1 player of note is leaving, Charles Little. Fabrizius looked like a potential 3pt threat as a frosh last year and some are high on freshman Matt Kavanaugh, who is expected to share time with Huelsman. Kavanaugh is a big boy who can hit an outside jumper...pretty much fits into what Dayton is about. Im not a fan of Huelsman at all from any standpoint. I view him as more of a body than anything. 4 of the 5 starters do return and with Lowery, Searcy and Perry, they have a decent little bench. Last year they had 10 players in double digit minutes, and Kavanaugh should take Little's spot there. They rotate their share and not one player even averaged 29 mpg. I expect Wright to be over 30 this year though. They dont score particularly that much, 11th out of 14th in the conference, but that should change some. I also expect their 3pt shooting to increase, as well as their scoring. They take smart shots, attack the paint and work the ball. Their FG shooting needs to increase though. Ive seen them go on lapses big time. Dayton has a great chance to make some REAL noise this year. I like them, but not QUITE as much as everyone else. That is unless its just a down year for NCAA hoops.
Duquesne: (9-7) (21-13)
Last years cinderella. Aaron Jackson ran this team like no other. Complements from some players like Bolding, Evans, Saunders and Co. really fueled this team. Saunders is a beast inside and Evans and Bolding will be a good guard combo. He changes shots inside and keeps the Dukes defensively sound, despite being such an uptempo team. AJ is now gone, and things will change. They wont have that go to guy they did last year. Their floor general is gone. How much does this effect the team? Its tough to gauge...they have a good compliment of players, guys like Duty, a Kentucky transfer in Williams and Peggau. Peggau is a burly 6'8 guy who does all the dirty work. I remember him last year before he got hurt, diving, slicing, scoring etc. Couple backcourt frosh wont be expected to do too much. Dukes will run a 3 guard lineup probably...and their frontcourt after Saunders and Peggau IMO is nothing to die for. This is a pretty small team, and I do question their rebounding abilities. They are going to have to hit the glass HARD. Evans will need to be a team leader...I like the Dukes this year....I see a solid NIT bid for them.