A-10’s A-Listers in for a Wacky Wednesday

Last Updated: February 24th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)

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If you’re Bernadette McGlade, you’re really biting your fingernails about Wednesday night on the hardwood. Why, you may ask?

McGlade is the Commissioner of the Atlantic 10, a conference which could still get as much exposure as having seven or eight teams in March Madness, and as little as three.

This could be the day that all of this mess is sorted out…

… Or it could be another day where more madness is made!

Let’s start with the teams that we know are in awfully good shape, shall we?

The Temple Owls have put together a resume that just about any team would be proud to have. They’re 22-5, have 11 wins away from the City of Brotherly Love to their resume, and a dominant 10-2 record against the very difficult A-10. They’re in, and we know it. The only question is how high they’ll end up ranking when it’s all said and done.

Then there are the Richmond Spiders and the Xavier Musketeers, of which are a combined 31-20 against the college basketball spreads on the season. Both have great wins against big conference opponents, and they’re also a combined 21-4 in conference play. Again, they’re both dancing barring a collapse of epic proportions.

Now, the rest of the bunch…

The Rhode Island Rams are the only team in the A-10 of any bubble consequence to be off on Wednesday night. They’re probably sitting right there on the bubble at 20-6 overall, as an 8-5 record in the A-10 and a rather weak out-of-conference schedule aren’t helping their case any.

The teams that really have make-or-break nights are the Charlotte 49ers, the Dayton Fliers, and the St. Louis Billikens.

Charlotte has been going in the wrong direction now for a few weeks, which has taken it from being a sure-fire tourney team to one that is probably just barely hanging on to its position on the bubble. Tonight, the 49ers will look to end their string of three straight losses against a St. Joe’s team that is only 1-10 on the road this season and has lost four straight of its own.

A win probably won’t help Charlotte much, as it is a 9.5-point NCAA basketball betting favorite, but a loss would be devastating and most likely lethal.

Dayton and St. Louis are far different stories. Both teams have identical 18-8 records. The Billikens’ 9-3 A-10 record looks better than the 7-5 mark of the Fliers, but St. Louis doesn’t have OOC wins against Georgia Tech and Old Dominion like Dayton does. The Fliers have a better RPI (43) than do the Billikens (82), but if the Selection Committee is interested in “what have you done for me lately,” St. Louis has won six straight, while Dayton has lost two of its L/3 and is only 5-5 in its L/10.

The resumes are remarkably similar, and both teams are sitting right there in that “last four in” or “last four old” block. Even tonight, these two teams are taking a similar path. Both are 4.5-point underdogs against one of these teams that we’ve already classified as locks for the NCAA Tournament.

Dayton travels to Temple tonight at 6:30 ET, while St. Louis plays host to Xavier with tip-off scheduled for 8:00 ET.
At the end of the day today, a lot of bubble teams floating around the country will either be a heck of a lot happier or under a lot more pressure.

Even though the Commissioner of a conference isn’t supposed to take sides, it’s hard to blame Bernadette McGlade for wearing her Dayton hat, her Charlotte jersey, and her St. Louis sweatpants while she watches these games this evening.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 @ 11:16 am (EST)
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