By Matthew Fidurko (@Durko33Matt)
A bid. A spot. A chance to be a part of the elite, to change everything.
The George Washington Colonials are the heavy favorite to win the Atlantic 10 Title this season. The Colonials have already garnered an at-large bid thanks to the outstanding regular season they put together. Charlie Creme, the Jo Lo of women’s bracketology for ESPN, has GW currently sitting as a five-seed facing 12-seed Arkansas in Chapel Hill. As for the Colonials in the conference tournament, they will have to wait all the way to Friday before playing. Their potential matchup, a rematch with their only conference loss of the season, the Saint Louis Billikens.
The second-seeded Dayton Flyers, who Creme has sitting as a seven-seed facing 10-seed Seton Hall in Durham, would have finished first in the conference any other year but this year. The Flyers landed right behind GW, posting a 14-2 conference record, and will play the winner of Saint Joseph’s and George Mason. The Atlantic 10’s best scenario is for GW and UD not to meet in the tournament final, making way for the A-10 to grab a third team in the big dance.
The question is who could be the third-bid?
Duquesne sits as the third-seed and on paper would be a heavy favorite to upset Dayton and make it to the tournament final. However, not so fast; watch out for the sixth-seeded Rhode Rams. Rhody suffered some tough late losses, but if Charise Wilson can return to her freshman phenom form, the Rams could possibly upset Duquesne, setting up a quarterfinal matchup with Dayton.
Fordham, like Duquesne, had a very good season on paper. However, the Rams might have to matchup with my sleeper team in this year’s tournament, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. The Bonnies, considered a disappointment this year, head to Richmond with nothing to lose. SBU’s opening round matchup with UMass should involve a victory for the Brown and White, as the Bonnies captured two out of their five conferences wins this season against the Minutewoman. If SBU is able to defeat UMass, they would move on to face a tough Richmond Spiders team. The Spiders and the Bonnies share a bond unlike any other. Both teams tragically suffered losses to their respective basketball families; the two forever Spiders and the one forever Bonnie will be recognized and remembered by the Atlantic 10 during the tournament’s final. This is game is a toss-up but look for the Bonnies build on their opening win momentum setting up a matchup between two teams that hate each other, St. Bonaventure and Fordham.
The 2015 Atlantic 10 Tournament is full of unpredictability. Be sure to watch Pickin’ Splinters and to follow @Durko33Matt for constant tournament updates.