WH Ranks the A-10 - 7th (and final) edition

From the A-10 board, WH provides his final ranking of the A-10 as the league wraps up OOC play…

[b]Ranking The Teams, 7th (final) Edition[/b]

Here’s my final say before league play. And with this thread, I close out my 2007 commentary until the end of the regular season. Time to let the players play and let me go back to doing other things.

It’s been fun, though, and great to see Chet’s dour preseason pessimism proven wrong (I am sure he’s happy about that, too). We do have a good league, and we’re showing it. Been a long time coming. Let’s hopes our droughts don’t last so long in the future. Cheers, all. Sorry if I am bit harsh on some of your teams.

  1. RHODE ISLAND (Record: 14-1; Last week, No. 1; No. 2 preseason). The Rams won a two-day tournament in Texas, but URI struggled to fend off Georgia Southern despite jumping out to a 29-6 lead. Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island sometimes plays down to the level of its opponent and can get a bit sloppy. Yet at their best, Rhody is as good as any team in the A-10. URI has just as much athleticism but more depth than Xavier, and the Rams have more firepower than the Flyers. Rhody rebounded from the tough game vs. Georgia Southern to blow out Fairleigh Dickinson at home.

  2. XAVIER (Record: 11-3; Last week, No. 2; No. 1 preseason). After an upsetting loss to Tennessee, the Musketeers crushed Delaware State in an exhibit-like game, and then did the same to a pair of BCS teams, Kansas State and Virginia. Auburn is next and soon Xavier will be back in the top 25. The Muskies have a terrific six-man rotation and might finally be developing more depth. PG Drew Lavender needs to be more consistent, and he has been since the loss to the Vols. A huge surprise is Jason Love, the rapidly improving 6-9 sophomore center. He’s the most improved bigman in the league and the key to the X resurgence.

  3. DAYTON (Record: 12-1; Last week, No. 3; No. 7 preaseason). The Flyers have shown newfound resiliency on the road and are almost impossible to beat at home, as their crushing win over Pittsburgh and close brush with Akron showed. They play very good defense and run the half-court offense as well as anyone in the A-10. Dayton might not have the explosiveness of other conference powers, but the Flyers have the athleticism and physicality to stand up to anyone. What’s more, senior Brian Roberts has taken the lead in the race for POY and is a certified big-game performer. Almost as important, sophomore center Kurt Huelsman, heretofore an offensive nonfactor, is finally showing some scoring ability. Yet Dayton needs super frosh Chris Wright to get healthy. Without him the Flyers almost lost to the Zips.

  4. MASSACHUSETTS (Record: 11-2; Last week, No. 4; No. 9 preseason). The Minutemen jumped out to a 44-25 lead at halftime vs. BU, but UMass got sloppy in the second half and let the Terriers close to within 3 points until Chris Lowe took over the game. Similarly UMass was slow out of the gate vs. Houston before rallying for a win. Frequent lapses have become too common lately, suggesting the tough-minded Minutemen are vulnerable despite an 11-2 start. UMass now heads to Vanderbilt for another huge game. Frosh Papa Lo has emerged as a key reserve with his tremendous shot-blocking ability, but Lowe is the motor behind the team’s surge.

  5. SAINT JOSEPH’S (Record: 7-4; Last week, No. 5; No. 3 preseason). The Hawks beat a somewhat depleted but still tough Siena squad on the road, winning their first close game in four chances. Then they beat Drexel at the Palestra. Pat Calathes has been huge and the top six players on St. Joe’s can compete with anyone in the A-10, but lack of depth might hurt in the race for the regular-season conference crown. Word on whether sophomore guard DJ Rivera will be back for the second semester has still not arrived. His is a sorely needed body.

  6. DUQUESNE (Record: 10-3; Last week, No. 6; No. 4 preseason). The Dukes beat Robert Morris and South Carolina Upstate at home and Bowling Green on the road, but their performances were certainly not crisp. The players will have to play better once conference games start. Duquesne takes too many treys – it’s not a great outside shooting team – and the Dukes commit too many turnovers. Guard Kojo Mensah is the biggest culprit. Frosh WF Damian Saunders continues to come up big and is a future A-10 star.

7) CHARLOTTE (Record: 8-4; Last week, No. 7; No. 10 preseason). The 49ers slogged their way to a 65-59 win over a clearly inferior Fairleigh Dickinson squad and now face a pair of ACC teams, Maryland and Clemson, to close out their noncon sked. PG Mike Gerrity, who recently suited up, is trying to find his place on the team and Charlotte still struggles on offense. When the Niners play good defense, they are tough to beat. If they slack up on D and rely too much on Leemire Goldwire’s outside shooting, Charlotte is beatable by most A-10 opponents.

  1. SAINT LOUIS (Record: 8-5; Last week, No. 8; No. 8 preseason). The once-struggling Billikens appear to have turned the corner, ripping off three straight wins after a poor start. Lisch and Liddell play better every game and juco transfer Barry Everhardt has come on strong. Dwayne Polk isn’t scoring much, but he’s been a spark with his point play and on-the-ball defense. This is a dangerous team.

  2. RICHMOND (Record: 7-6; Last week, No. 10; No. 12 preseason). The Spiders are the A-10’s cardiac kids. Richmond almost blew late leads at home to Old Dominion, VMI and Virginia Tech, but the Spiders pulled out all three games with big help from frosh PG Kevin Anderson and frosh swingman Kevin Smith. In short, the young Spiders are learning how to win. Richmond has plenty of momentum heading into league play after taking down the Hokies. When the Spiders play their style of ball, they are capable of beating almost any team in the A-10 at home.

  3. TEMPLE (Record: 6-6; Last week, No. 9; No. 11 preseason). The Owls were blown out on the road at Florida and showed all the usual problems – poor defense and rebounding, lackluster point play, sporadic offense and sill fouls. Otherwise impressive frosh Lavoy Allen is easily the A-10’s leader in stupid fouls. Temple has a solid squad and the Owls will generate a few upsets, but this is still a .500 team at best.

  4. ST. BONAVENTURE. (Record: 5-8; Last week, No. 11; No. 14 preseason). The Bonnies are, still, the least talented team in the league, but they remain ahead of GW and La Salle because of good effort. Olean may also prove enough of a home-court advantage to give the Bonnies an edge for the final spot in the league tournament. Juco bigman D’Lancy Carter has been a pleasant surprise – he’s not a stiff – and frosh WF Hillary Haley has surprised. Unforunately seniors Michael Lee and Zarryon Fereti have tailed off lately. The Bonnies cannot win when both of those players shoot poorly.

  5. FORDHAM (Record: 5-6; Last week, No. 12; No. 5 preseason). The Rams were crushed at Georgetown and showed little life, a common problem. Perhaps the Rams will get their blood flowing in conference play, but they don’t have a single game that looks easy, save for perhaps GW on Jan. 16. Nobody on the team seems to be in charge, and that includes the coach.

  6. GEORGE WASHINGTON (Record: 4-6; Last week, No. 13; No 6 preseason). The Colonials have some size and talent and plenty of athleticism, but the effort has been poor, the passing and decision making worse. This team is like a body without a head and that won’t change until next year. GW is susceptible to ball pressure and goes long stretches without scoring. The Colonials will pull a few upsets in league play, but this team can be beaten by anyone. GW has already proven that.

  7. LA SALLE (Record: 3-7; Last week, No. 14; No. 13 preseason). The Explorers are young, not particularly strong inside, lack good point play, don’t pass well and shoot poorly. The defense has also slacked off after the first batch of games. Other than that, things are going just great! After an expected loss at Florida State this week, La Salle will enter league play at 3-8, and the Explorers will be fortunate to double their win total in regular-season conference action.

And his picks for POY, etc.:

As of late January, these would be my picks:

A-10 POY
Brian Roberts, Dayton

FIRST TEAM
Brian Roberts, UD
Drew Lavender, Xavier
Will Daniels, Rhode Island
Gary Forbes, UMass
Pat Calathes, St. Joe’s

SECOND TEAM
Leemire Goldwire, Charlotte

Dionte Christmas, Temple
Jim Baron Jr., URI
Shawn James, Duquesne
Stanley Burrell, X

THIRD TEAM
Ricky Harris, UMass
Michael Lee, Bona
Parfait Bitee, URI
Chris Lowe, UMass
Kevin Lisch, Saint Louis
Kahiem Seawright, URI

(Tommie Liddell of SLU should end up on this team eventually).

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
Shawn James, Duquesne
Parfait Bitee, URI
Stanley Burrell, X
Marcus Johnson, UD
Garrett Williamson, St. Joe’s
Tony Gaffney, UMass

ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM
Chris Wright, UD
Kevin Anderson, Richmond
Damian Saunders, Duquesne
Lavoy Allen, Temple
An’Juan Wilderness, Charlotte

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Ricky Harris, UMass

Runners-up: Kurt Huelsman (UD), Jason Love (X)


Link: Ranking The Teams, 7th (final) Edition

Kind of surprised Coley didn’t make it anywhere on there, but he will have to earn it in league play I guess.

Martelli is a very good coach and his teams are very physical, but I am not convinced that St Joes is better than us, especially with Rivera out.

I haven’t seen Duquesne play enough times to have an opinion.

Then again, if we don’t increase our offensive output, he might have us over ranked.

[QUOTE=ChevEE;280815]Kind of surprised Coley didn’t make it anywhere on there, but he will have to earn it in league play I guess.[/QUOTE]

He needs to be in the defensive team discussion. I think WH saw his two weakest games of the year, including the Hofstra debacle.

[U]Comparisons (Leader in stats bolded):[/U]

Coley vs. Gaffney:
[B] Coley[/B]: [B]6.8 RPG,[/B] [B]26 blocks[/B], 12 steals
Gaffney: 4.5 RPG, 20 blocks, [B]16 steals[/B]

Coley vs. Williamson:
[B] Coley[/B]: [B]6.8 RPG[/B], [B]26 blocks[/B], 12 steals
Williamson: 1.5 RPG, 6 blocks, 12 steals

Coley vs. Johnson:
[B] Coley[/B]: [B]6.8 RPG[/B], [B]26 blocks[/B], [B]12 steals[/B]
Johnson: 4.0 RPG, 5 blocks, 9 steals

Coley vs. Burrell:
[B] Coley[/B]: [B]6.8 RPG[/B], [B]26 blocks[/B], [B]12 steals[/B]
Burrell: 1.7 RPG, 1 block, 10 steals

Coley vs. Bitee:
[B] Coley[/B]: [B]6.8 RPG[/B], [B]26 blocks[/B], 12 steals
Bitee: 2.3 RPG, 4 blocks, [B]15 steals[/B]

Coley vs. James:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, [B]12 steals[/B]
[B] James[/B]: [B]7.2 RPG[/B], [B]57 blocks (wtf?)[/B], 4 steals

If you look at stats, I think Coley was unfairly snubbed. Just my opinion.

Edit: Since most of those are guards, lets compare Leemire’s defensive stats:
Goldwire: [B]4.8 RPG[/B], 3 blocks, [B]23 steals

[/B]Leemire has more steals than almost two other guards on that list combined, and more rebounds than every guard.

Nice stats Eason! I agree with you, even though WH is usually very good, it looks like he missed on this one, atleast as far as Coley goes!

Nice stat digging Eason.

Defense is not just stats, it’s keeping your man from scoring too. I think Coley is one of the best that… defending both down low and along the perimeter (not many ‘big’ men can do that). He’s also the key to our press.

[U]Comparisons (Leader in stats bolded):[/U]

Coley vs. Gaffney:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, 12 steals
Gaffney: 4.5 RPG, 20 blocks, 16 steals

Coley vs. Williamson:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, 12 steals
Williamson: 1.5 RPG, 6 blocks, 12 steals

Coley vs. Johnson:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, 12 steals
Johnson: 4.0 RPG, 5 blocks, 9 steals

Coley vs. Burrell:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, 12 steals
Burrell: 1.7 RPG, 1 block, 10 steals

Coley vs. Bitee:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, 12 steals
Bitee: 2.3 RPG, 4 blocks, 15 steals

Coley vs. James:
Coley: 6.8 RPG, 26 blocks, 12 steals
James: 7.2 RPG, 57 blocks (wtf?), 4 steals

If you look at stats, I think Coley was unfairly snubbed. Just my opinion.

Edit: Since most of those are guards, lets compare Leemire’s defensive stats:
Goldwire: 4.8 RPG, 3 blocks, 23 steals

Leemire has more steals than almost two other guards on that list combined, and more rebounds than every guard.

Here are James’ stats, he had 12 blocks one game, but like others have said the Dukes didn’t play anybody till the Pitt and WVU games, in which james had 1 block and 5 blocks.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=23274
there should be a even number of gaurds and big men on the all defensive team I think, I guess the question is who do you take off? Don’t think you can take James off the list.

Goldwire will shoot 40% from 3 world… in conference play… at home… in the 2nd half… when he is open… wearing a headband.

Our D won’t let up!!! Just keep Harris in the game.

I guess W.H. is telling us we are going all the Way.