College Basketball Betting: Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament Preview
The Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament begins tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. All 14 teams in the league will participate, with the top four seeds earning double byes and four teams squaring off in the opening round. Dayton is the odds-on favorite at close to -200. The Flyers are likely a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, unless they stub their toe in their first A-10 Tournament matchup. Richmond is fighting for an at-large bid and Rhode Island is currently on the outside looking in. No one else in the A-10 has an NCAA Tournament worthy resume.
Favorite – Dayton has put together a dream season, currently sitting at 29-2 heading into the A-10 Tournament. Both of their losses went to overtime this season, against #1–ranked Kansas and Colorado (both neutral site games). It’s plausible that they could have gone undefeated this season if things broke right in those two contests. The Flyers have won 20 straight games, and the last time they played a one-possession game was all the way back on January 17 against Saint Louis on the road. In fact, that was Dayton’s only one-possession game in conference play this season – with a perfect 18-0 record in the A-10. Sophomore Obi Toppin is a National Player of the Year candidate who has been terrific on both ends of the floor. He’s surrounded with tremendous shooters and a veteran team that features mostly upperclassmen. You have to wonder if Dayton is feeling some pressure heading into the postseason. Expectations have been raised and the fans view the team as a legitimate title contender. If they don’t reach the Final Four, the season could be viewed as somewhat of a disappointment. The only knock on Dayton is that they haven’t played a very tough schedule this season. The best team that they have beaten is Saint Mary’s, who sits at 40th in KenPom (second-best team is Richmond at 46th). They shouldn’t have a problem navigating the A-10 Tournament, but after that, we’ve yet to see how they will do against top-tier competition.
Darkhorse – Davidson is a sneaky selection to win the A-10 Tournament. While they are just 10-8 in the conference, they have some of the ingredients that you look for in an underdog. They shoot a ton of three-point shots (33rd nationally in 3PA/FGA) and hit them at a high rate of 36.8% (33rd nationally as well). If they get hot from behind the arc, they can beat anyone, including Dayton. Davidson also slows down the pace to a crawl, so they’ve got a better shot of upsetting a superior team with less possessions in the game. Defense is the big concern for the Wildcats, so they’ll likely need to beat a team like Dayton or Richmond in somewhat of a shootout. Bob McKillop is also one of the best coaches in the A-10, and that matters more than ever in the postseason.
What to Bet – The A-10 is more of an offensive conference than a defensive one. I’m looking for OVERS in the early rounds of the A-10 Tournament. There are some terrific shooting teams and it could make for some good old-fashioned shootouts. We also tend to see teams fouling late more than usual when behind in a tournament setting. Things will tighten up in the later rounds as teams get more fatigued and the game slows down. The big question will be if anyone can knock off Dayton and earn an automatic bid – while taking away an at-large bid for a Power 6 school. There should be at least one solid spot to fade the Flyers this week, as their stock couldn’t by any higher right now and they’re likely feeling some pressure.
Odds to Win Tournament
Rhode Island +1055
Saint Louis +1200
St. Bonaventure +4000
La Salle +22500
George Mason +22500
George Washington +35000
St. Joe’s +150000
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