UMass MBB Mentioned In CBS Sports.com Observations - UMass Athletics
UMass MBB Mentioned In CBS Sports.com Observations
Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) has a good chunk of thoughts on the Atlantic 10 in his latest 'Observations' piece on CBSSports.com, including placing the Minutemen back into the underrated category.
4. Don't assume an Atlantic 10 downturn: Last summer, this conference was supposed to be down and forgotten. Instead it had a landmark season. The Atlantic 10 lost Temple, Butler, Xavier and Charlotte last year but managed six NCAA tournament teams after earning five spots in the 2013 field of 68. This league repeatedly has shown it can absorb defections, and don't be surprised if that's the case again next season.
Programs like Saint Louis and Saint Joseph's will retool after losing the bulk of their cores from last year, but VCU, Dayton and others look primed to be a nuisance on a nightly basis. George Washington lost Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood to graduation but return a strong quartet of juniors in Joe McDonald, Kethan Savage, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen. McDonald and Savage never were healthy last season and it will be interesting to see how they respond after an off-season of rehab.
Richmond has one of the country's more electrifying players in undersized combo guard Kendall Anthony, and Dan Hurley has Rhode Island primed to make a jump after big-time additions during the late signing period. The Rams looked like a 20-win team last summer but the loss of starting center Jordan Hare (personal reasons) before last season took away their main defensive anchor. Hare's impending return and the addition of a Top 75 recruit in combo guard Jared Terrell give Hurley two starting caliber players who could be difference makers.
Two more underrated programs? UMass and La Salle. The Minutemen have the A-10's best big man in Cady Lalanne (11.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 blocks last season), while the Explorers have arguably the league's best frontcourt combo: Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack.
The Atlantic 10 isn't like some other leagues where there are "built-in wins." For the most part, every team is a tough out, and the 10th or 11th best team is this conference often is ahead of the 10th or 11th best team in another conference. Snagging six NCAA bids will be awfully hard to achieve, but history proves completely writing it off wouldn't be wise.
Check out the complete article which includes some scheduling info for Dayton...
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