Atlantic 10 releases schedule pairings for 2021-22 men’s basketball season

Highlights: Dayton opens game with 17-5 run vs. Saint Louis on Feb. 19, 2021, at UD Arena.

Home game against St. Bonaventure will be one fans can circle on the calendar

There were no surprises for the Dayton Flyers when the Atlantic 10 Conference released its men’s basketball schedule pairings for the 2021-22 season on Thursday.

For the second straight season, Dayton will play the same group of five teams twice. Here are 10 things to know about Dayton’s schedule:

1. Repeat opponents: Dayton, which finished 14-10 overall last season and seventh in the A-10 with a 9-7 mark, will play these five teams at home and on the road.

• Virginia Commonwealth: The Rams (19-7, 10-4) finished second in the regular season behind St. Bonaventure and lost to the Bonnies in the A-10 championship game at UD Arena. They lost the A-10 Player of the Year, Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland,” who declared for the NBA Draft and received some bad news last week when starting point guard Ace Baldwin ruptured his Achille’s tendon.

• Saint Louis: The Billikens (14-7, 6-4) finished fourth. They return their top scorer, Javonte Perkins (17.1 points per game), who elected to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA gave everyone.

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• Duquesne: The Dukes (9-9, 7-7) finished ninth in coach Keith Dambrot’s fourth season.

• Rhode Island: The Rams (10-15, 7-10) finished 10th, their lowest finish since 2014, in coach David Cox’s third season.

• George Washington: The Colonials (5-12, 3-5) placed 11th and played fewer conference games than any other team in the league because of COVID-19 issues. They have suffered four straight losing seasons.

2. Familiar foes: This will be the seventh straight season Dayton has played Duquesne twice in the regular season and the eighth straight season it has played two games against Saint Louis.

Dayton will place VCU and Rhode Island twice for the sixth straight season.

3. Who else visits Dayton: Dayton also plays home games at Davidson, Fordham, Massachusetts and St. Bonaventure. Dayton won at Davidson and St. Bonaventure last season and lost at Fordham. A road game against UMass was cancelled because of COVID-19 issues in Amherst, Mass.

4. Where else Dayton plays: Dayton will travel for games at George Mason, La Salle, Richmond and Saint Joseph’s. The Flyers beat George Mason twice last season. Both games were at UD Arena. Dayton lost at home to La Salle, lost at Saint Joseph’s and didn’t play Richmond because of COVID-19 problems at Richmond.

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5. Strong home schedule: The top five teams in the 2021 standings will play in Dayton: St. Bonaventure; VCU; Davidson; Massachusetts; and Saint Louis.

6. Best game: Dayton’s home game against St. Bonaventure will be one to look forward to for the Flyers. The Bonnies return their entire starting lineup, including an All-A-10 first-team selection, guard Kyle Lofton (14.4 points per game), and will be the preseason favorite when the A-10 poll is released in the fall.

7. Postseason plans: The 2022 A-10 tournament will take place at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. It was last played there in 2018. The event returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.., in 2023 and 2024.

8. History lesson: This will be the eighth straight season the A-10 has played an 18-game schedule. It played a 16-game schedule from 1993-2014.

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9. NCAA hopes: In Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket prediction on ESPN.com, he had St. Bonaventure as a No. 5 seed and Richmond as a No. 12 seed in the First Four. He listed VCU as one of the first four teams out of the tournament picture.

Last March, St. Bonaventure and VCU earned invitations to the NCAA tournament, but VCU had to withdraw hours before its first-round game because of positive COVID-19 tests.

10. Looking ahead: The exact dates of the A-10 games will be announced at a later date. They are typically announced in early September.

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