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Atlantic 10 Tournament Preview

By: Jonathan Editor
Contact Jonathan

Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament

March 10 - 13, 2004

Dayton, OH

UD Arena

Tournament Bracket
Updated with Results

Tournament Favorite > St. Joseph's
St. Joseph's The pick here is an obvious choice. St. Joseph's has won every game they've played in this year, including all sixteen in Atlantic 10 play. The Hawks and their top-rated RPI are on pace to grab a number one seed on Selection Sunday. SJU has dominated the league all year, and nothing else should be expected in the A-10 Tournament.

Tournament Dark Horse > Temple
Temple Coach John Chaney's Temple squad has been fairly unimpressive this season but against a very tough schedule. The Owls have beaten the likes of South Carolina and Indiana this season and have won eight of their last ten. Senior guard David Hawkins is the conference's leading scorer and is capable of exploding for 30-plus on any given night. With a winning streak and a big-time scorer, Temple could put a scare into St. Joseph's and others.

Matchup of Intrigue > George Washington vs Rhode Island
George Washington vs Rhode Island This matchup will take place if the Rams get past LaSalle in round one. And why is this matchup so interesting? Because it is likely that the winner here will take on St. Joseph's for the right to play in the title game. And both GW and Rhode Island have given SJU a run for their money. The Colonials' fell by just nine points on the road at St. Joe's in January. In their two meetings with the Hawks, the Rams lost by fourteen on the road and just two at home. The winner of this possible GW/RIU matchup certainly has a shot at stunning the Hawks.

NCAA Tournament Impact
NCAA Tournament It looks like the Atlantic 10 will get three teams into this year's Tournament, one of which will be St. Joseph's. That means that Dayton, George Washington, Xavier, and Richmond are battling for two spots. Count GW, with a loss last week to Xavier and an RPI in the 70s, out. The other three all have RPIs between 46 and 52. SOS edge goes to the Musketeers and Spiders, but Dayton is 3-1 against the other two. Looking at the last ten games, the edge would have to go to Xavier. If any of these three teams make it to the championship game, that team should earn a berth. It sure looks as if there is plenty still up for grabs in the A-10.

Tournament Ramblings
St. Joseph's will likely be ranked number one in the country after Stanford's loss at Washington this past week. The target is as big as it can get on the back of those Hawk unis, so expect the rest of the field to be ready to play. Six different teams have won this Tournament in the past eight years. The games will be played at the home arena of the Dayton Flyers, who are the number one seed out of the West.

Projected Winner > St. Joseph's
St. Joseph's It's hard to pick against these guys. Guards Jameer Nelson and Delonte West are certain all-conference players, and the Hawks have stood up to each and every test put before them this year. The rest of the field will enjoy getting a shot a coach Phil Martelli's team on a neutral court, which will turn into a crowd cheering for the underdog (or anyone playing SJU). Martelli has praised his team for their toughness and poise, and that will certainly be tested this week. But then again, they've gotten everyone's best shot all year long.