A-10 Notebook, March 4th

Once again, the Niners “assist” in deciding a player of the week…

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Bryant Dunston - Fordham
Junior, Forward, 6-8, Queens, NY/St. John’s Prep

Dunston averaged 22.5 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in a pair of victories for Fordham…shot 15-of-26 from the field and 15-for-18 from the line…had 25 points and 11 rebounds on Feb. 28 in the Rams’ 91-60 win at St. Bonaventure…scored 20 points and grabbed 13 boards in Fordham’s 80-73 victory over Temple on Mar. 3…added four assists…now has 25 career double-doubles.

Ian Vouyoukas - Saint Louis
Senior, Center, 6-10, Athens, Greece

Vouyoukas averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 63.3 percent (19-of-30) from the field in a pair of contests…poured in a career-high 28 points, including the 1,000th of his career, and added 11 rebounds in the Billikens’ 65-64 (2OT) loss at Dayton on Mar. 3…scored a game-high 19 points and 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed eight boards on Feb. 28 as Saint Louis downed Richmond, 78-68…added five assists.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Damian Hollis - George Washington
Freshman, Forward, 6-8, Fort Lauderdale, FL/J.P. Taravella HS

Hollis earns his second A-10 Rookie of the Week citation of the season after averaging 15 points and eight rebounds in two wins by George Washington…recorded his first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds on Mar. 3 in the Colonials’ 88-80 win versus Duquesne…had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in George Washington’s 62-60 victory at Charlotte on Mar. 1…added four assists and three steals.

Atlantic10.org: A-10 Men’s Basketball Notebook, March 4, 2007

Duquesne To Receive USBWA’s Most Courageous Award

USAToday.com: Around the Atlantic 10

More…

Cincinnati.com: A-10 tournament preview

From the Dayton Daily News…

[b]Scouting the Atlantic 10 tournament[/b]

March 06, 2007

[b]Front-runners

XAVIER[/b]

Record: 23-7 RPI: 32

Lowdown: Finished season with eight straight wins to claim share of league title. Depth and veterans at every position. Point guard spot in good hands with Drew Lavender.

Coach’s comment: “With the environments we’ve had to play in this season, and the players we’ve had to face, we feel very good about being the No. 1 seed going into this tournament.” — Sean Miller

MASSACHUSETTS

Record: 23-7 RPI: 56

Lowdown: Senior forward Stephane Lasme is just third player in NCAA history to record four triple-doubles in one season. A-10 player of year is second in nation in blocks (5.2 per game) and first in league in rebounding (9.4). A-10 co-champs have won six straight.

Coach’s comment: “We can’t let our guys get too high. We’ve been hard, very hard, on them in practice.” — Travis Ford

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Record: 20-8 RPI: 83

Lowdown: Overhauled their roster from last year but prevailed in final five games to notch third straight 20-win season. Senior guard Carl Elliott leads A-10 in assists (5.2) and steals (2.7).

Coach’s comment: “At the beginning of the year, we had so many new guys. We didn’t have those key veterans at key positions. And to accomplish what we did, I’m very pleased.” — Karl Hobbs

SAINT LOUIS

Record: 18-12 RPI: 80

Lowdown: Billikens rely on Tommie Liddell (15.4 points per game), Kevin Lisch (15.1) and Ian Vouyoukas (12.1). Had disappointing 8-8 finish in conference after being picked third, but won three of final five games, losing only on road to UMass and Dayton in close calls.

Coach’s comment: “We’ve been defending very well. We did a good job at Dayton and a good job at UMass. If a coach can be upbeat after winning only three of five games, I am.” — Brad Soderberg

[b]In the race

CHARLOTTE[/b]

Record: 14-15 RPI: 139

Lowdown: Enthralled with 3-pointer, leading league with 253 this season, but they were next-to-last in 3-point percentage (.333). The 49ers are led by third-team all-league guard De’Angelo Alexander, who is averaging 17.7 points per game.

Coach’s comment: “Anyone that finished 8-8 or 7-9 in the league is going to look at potential wins they let get away. We got blown out a couple times, which was rare for us. But we were also in close games with teams at the top, and that gives us hope.” — Bobby Lutz

DAYTON

Record: 18-11 RPI: 74

Lowdown: Finished 15-2 at UD Arena, tying for fifth-most home wins in school history. But Flyers had just two road wins, equaling school’s eighth-lowest total in modern era (since 1947). They’ve won two straight games despite losing senior wing Monty Scott to a career-ending knee injury.

Coach’s comment: “We don’t have a lot of experience, especially on the wing. You can say those new players have been in 29 games now, but they haven’t played in a tournament yet — where every game is a grind-it-out type. If you lose your focus for a second, you’re in deep trouble.” — Brian Gregory

FORDHAM

Record: 17-11 RPI: 97

Lowdown: Season prior to fourth-year coach Dereck Whittenburg’s arrival, Rams won just two games. But they’ve notched 10 league wins for first time since joining A-10 in 1995-96, and their 17 victories are most since 1991-92. Junior forward Bryant Dunston has had 25 career double-doubles.

Coach’s comment: “A lot of people thought this wasn’t a good situation and I shouldn’t pursue it, but I told them they were wrong. It’s a great league, and we’re in New York City. Fordham should have a chance to compete at this level.” — Dereck Whittenburg

RHODE ISLAND

Record: 17-13 RPI: 122

Lowdown: Earning fourth seed and first-round bye wasn’t expected after being picked to finish 11th, but Rams are on three-game losing streak. Forward Will Daniels, who averages 17.2 points per game, is first-team all-league choice. Guard Jimmy Baron leads A-10 in 3-pointers made (92) and 3-point percentage (.492).

Coach’s comment: “We’ve got to get back to Rhode Island basketball, which is getting the ball down low, attacking the basket and picking it up on the defensive end, trying to take away 3-point shots.” — Jim Baron

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Record: 17-13 RPI: 95

Lowdown: Potent trio on front line, including first-team all-league pick Ahmad Nivins and third-teamer Pat Calathes, is team’s strength, but rotation in backcourt includes four freshmen. Season ended with three-game losing streak.

Coach’s comment: “Outside of showing a competitive nature, we’ve been wildly inconsistent. As we go into the A-10 tourney, I don’t know what we’ll see.” — Phil Martelli

[b]Along for the ride

TEMPLE[/b]

Record: 12-17 RPI: 164

Lowdown: Shooting 46.1 percent from field — their highest mark since 1983-84 — but they’ve cooled considerably while losing their last two games, hitting a combined 37.9 percent. Owls have league’s top two scorers in guards Dionte Christmas (20.4) and Mark Tyndale (19.3).

Coach’s comment: “We haven’t played our best basketball over the last few games. It would be really nice if our guys could step up and make some shots when they get open.” — Fran Dunphy

DUQUESNE

Record: 10-18 RPI: 218

Lowdown: After being feel-good national story, Dukes have fallen on hard times. They’ve lost their last seven, although they still lead league in scoring (78.4) and free-throw percentage (75.6). Freshman forward Robert Mitchell is A-10 rookie of year after averaging 16.6 points per game. Centerville High School graduate Scott Grote is fourth in scoring (9.8).

Coach’s comment: “Our guys have been through quite an ordeal this year. … I think we’re starting to get mentally fatigued. We have such a young group of players, and they’re hitting the wall. We’ve not been out of any games, but we haven’t made plays down the stretch.” — Ron Everhart

RICHMOND

Record: 8-21 RPI: 270

Lowdown: Earned final spot in A-10 tourney by winning two of their last three games, upsetting Saint Joseph’s and Rhode Island. The Spiders made 15 3-pointers in season finale, three short of school record.

Coach’s comment: “Playing our way into the tournament, rather than backing into it, was very satisfying for our guys.” — Chris Mooney

— Doug Harris, Staff Writer

[b]A-10 coaches say league deserves two NCAA bids

However, an RPI expert believes Xavier and UMass are still on the bubble.[/b]

By Doug Harris
Dayton Daily News
March 06, 2007

DAYTON — Most college basketball analysts would say Xavier and Massachusetts have some work to do if they expect to earn NCAA tournament at-large berths, but the consensus among Atlantic 10 coaches is that their league co-champions have already done enough.

“We need to quit tiptoeing around in this league,” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said. “UMass and Xavier are in the NCAA tourney. They’re NCAA quality. I watch every game on television, and these two teams are powerful.”

Both schools will take 23-7 records into the A-10 tournament, which starts Wednesday. Xavier has an RPI of 32, UMass 56.

“We have two teams with resumes that, if you took away their names, everybody would be saying they’re in,” Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. “And I think they are.”

But Jerry Palm, who runs CollegeRPI.com, has both teams on the bubble, saying Xavier probably can’t afford a bad loss in the A-10 tourney, and UMass needs to at least reach the finals.

From 1991 to 2004, the A-10 earned fewer than three bids only twice. But it picked up just one in 2005, and it was a one-bid league last year until Xavier became the surprise winner of the postseason tourney.

UMass coach Travis Ford isn’t sure where his team stands.

“Everyone I’ve talked to who has seen us play thinks we should be a team that gets in,” he said. "But if you base it on numbers and RPI, we still have to win a game or so."


Link: DaytonDailyNews.com

And even more…

Philly.com: A.C. and the A-10 tourney: Perfect together, say officials

Attendance will determine the voracity of the “perfect fit” claim.

Well, the sports editor of the Olean Times Herald doesn’t pull any punches in this opinion piece about Bona coach Anthony Solomon…

Zwire.com: POLLOCK: Solomon has had his chance

[QUOTE=NinerAdvocate;222845]Attendance will determine the voracity of the “perfect fit” claim.[/QUOTE]

Especially after reading the Valley had 22,000+ for its final in St. Louis and the CAA another 11,000+ in Richmond last night.

[QUOTE=run49er;222848]Especially after reading the Valley had 22,000+ for its final in St. Louis and the CAA another 11,000+ in Richmond last night.[/QUOTE]

Richmond was such a win for the CAA. Start off with all those VA based schools - richmond is a short drive. Then add the drama of George Mason trying to put on another slipper, and you’ve got $$$.

Having a conference toruney at a central location that is a short drive for many of the prominent schools is such a no-brainer. If the Philly schools ruled the A10 on the court, then we’d be foolish not to have it in Philly. Our problem is that the prominent programs are spread all over, just like CUSA was.

That leads to Bruno & Company trying to sell a common vacation destination to fans rather than a close travel game. Much tougher sell.

[QUOTE=run49er;222848]Especially after reading the Valley had 22,000+ for its final in St. Louis and the CAA another 11,000+ in Richmond last night.[/QUOTE]

I’ve seen recent CAA finals, and the attendance was nothing special. I agree with Advocate that the GMU cineralla thing had a bunch to do with the crowd.

[QUOTE=Pork Chop;222855]I’ve seen recent CAA finals, and the attendance was nothing special. I agree with Advocate that the GMU cineralla thing had a bunch to do with the crowd.[/QUOTE]

Wow, selling out your tourney final is nothing special?! Actually, having the final in the same town as the tourney winner certainly helps.

I mean past years the audience looked pretty sparse on ESPN. This year was the exception if my memory serves me.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette…

PostGazette.com: Atlantic 10 Conference: Xavier, UMass are clear favorites

From the Cincy Post…

Parity makes A-10 a toss-up

Was Cleveland even a possible location? I think that would have been a pretty good spot IMO. What about Pittsburgh also a pretty good location IMO.

It’s been pretty neat reading all the quotes from Bobby in the various newspapers covering the A-10. He’s also qouted in this AP story:

Sportsline.com: Martelli says Atlantic 10 deserves at least two NCAA bids