This Week in the A-10 (Jan. 11)

From the league office, Derrick Brown (X) and Ahmad Nivins (St. Joe’s) are co-POTWs, with Andrew Nicholson (Bona) picking up his 4th rookie award. [BTW, Nivins also noted by ESPN in “Weekly Watch” for his 28 point, 20 rebound performance against URI - first A-10 player to grab 20 rebounds in a game since Curtis Withers did it back in 2006 against Dayton.]

CCT picks co-POTWs as well – Nivins and Aaron Jackson (Duquesne). Niners fall from 4th to 8th in power rankings. A-10 Notebook - Jan. 11 This Week in the A-10 - Jan. 11

X #15 AP, #16 ESPN this week. Dayton still getting votes in ESPN, but that loss to UMass got the Flyers nothing from the AP.

From Andy Katz…

Quick hitters for Tuesday:

Over the weekend, I went to UMass-Dayton in Springfield, Mass., and then watched Miami beat BC in Newton, Mass.

• Dayton started off 14-1, beating Marquette outside Chicago, and had the look of an NCAA tournament team. The Flyers still might get there, but they were bounced in the Atlantic 10 season opener by UMass in Springfield. Dayton has an intriguing team. The Flyers’ guards can cause problems, especially with the quick hands of Rob Lowery and London Warren – Dayton had seven steals in the first half. But they had only three steals in the second half. The Flyers made 4 of 6 3-pointers in the first half but then missed all six in the second. Chris Wright, who is a talent, can disappear at times.

The Flyers aren’t a big team underneath, but when they’re using their quickness, turning the ball over, they can be a tough out in the A-10. The most interesting thing about the Flyers is they go 12 deep – legitimately. Not sure I’ve seen a team that plays 12 players in conference play.

• Dayton coach Brian Gregory said there is no player in the country who does more as a nonscorer than UMass senior Tony Gaffney. He’s right. Gaffney scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had seven blocks in the 75-62 Minutemen win Saturday. Gaffney had 15 points, 18 rebounds, and nine blocks in an overtime loss to BC and had six blocks, 13 rebounds and six points in an upset win over Kansas.

"He’s one of the best players in the country that gets nothing run for him,’’ UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "He plays with tremendous emotion. He plays his butt off every time on the court.’’

UMass beat Kansas and Dayton, but also got blown out by 30 by Vanderbilt and lost on the road at Wisconsin-Green Bay and Toledo. The Minutemen are 1-0 in the A-10 and if, if, if they play consistently, they will be a tough out in the A-10 tournament. They all know they missed their opportunity to be an at-large team this season with inconsistent play in nonconference games.

• The Atlantic 10 is considering five cities for the conference tournament from 2010 to 2012. The candidates are: Atlantic City (hosting again this March); Cincinnati (U.S. Bank Arena); Dayton, Ohio; Springfield, Mass. (the Hall of Fame is backing this venture, too); and Pittsburgh (Duquesne at the new Penguins facility, which wouldn’t be ready until 2011). The problem for the A-10 has always been attendance. The conference is going to home sites for the first round, which is a good move. It has good student participation, so a concerted effort on busing students to the tournament would be a good idea to make these sites work. Upon further review, the A-10 really had no choice but to go with CBS’ offer to put the championship game on the Sunday of selection weekend. Andy Katz Blog - Jan. 13, 2009

Xavier Alexander leaves GW. Things are mess in Foggy Bottom and I won’t be surprised if Hobbs is gone by season’s end as well. Alexander leaves Colonials