The last week of the regular season has arrived, and after competing for the Atlantic 10 Conference championship until the final day the last three years, the Dayton Flyers find themselves at the top of the bottom half of the standings, tied for eighth with two games remaining.
Dayton fans planning to attend the A-10 tournament next week in Washington, D.C., should keep their plans flexible. Dayton likely will start play on Thursday, but there’s still a chance it could play Wednesday as one of the bottom four seeds. Even a 2-0 week probably isn’t going to be enough for Dayton to pass four teams and claim the No. 4 seed, which would allow them to start play in the quarterfinals Friday.
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I predict Dayton will go 1-1 this week, earn the No. 8 seed and play No. 9 seed Richmond in the second round at noon Thursday. The winner of that game would earn a date with No. 1 seed Rhode Island at noon Friday.
Here’s my prediction of how the standings with look after Saturday. The records in parentheses are the predicted records after this week:
1. Rhode Island (25-4, 16-2): The Rams have lost only to St. Bonaventure to this point. They should win Tuesday at home against St. Joseph’s. KenPom.com gives them a 91 percent chance in that game. They have a tougher game Friday at Davidson. The Wildcats are 7-1 in A-10 home games, so let’s pencil that one in as a loss for the Rams. No matter what happens this week, Rhode Island locked up the top seed by beating Dayton 81-56 on Friday.
2. St. Bonaventure (24-6, 14-4): The Bonnies are the hottest team in the league, having won 10 straight. They should win their final two games: at home against Davidson on Tuesday and at Saint Louis on Saturday.
3. Davidson (18-11, 13-5): The Wildcats should lose at St. Bonaventure, where no A-10 team has won this season, before recording the upset of Rhode Island.
4. Virginia Commonwealth (18-13, 10-8): The Rams have a relatively easy road in the final week. They should beat George Mason at home on Wednesday and win at Fordham on Saturday, though they did lose at Fordham a year ago.
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5. Saint Louis (17-14, 10-8): The Billikens play at Duquesne on Wednesday. That looked like a tough game earlier this season but not so much anymore. The Dukes have lost eight of their last nine games. Saint Louis should win that game before losing to St. Bonaventure. The Billikens would lose a tiebreaker against VCU because the Rams won the only matchup between the teams.
6. George Mason (15-16, 9-9): The Patriots have won five of their last seven games. I predict they’ll lose at VCU and then beat Richmond at home Saturday.
7. St. Joseph’s (14-16, 9-9): The Hawks will lose at Rhode Island and then beat La Salle at home on Saturday. St. Joseph’s would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker against George Mason if they tie for sixth. The Patriots beat the Hawks twice.
8. Dayton (14-16, 8-10): The odds are Dayton will lose at La Salle on Wednesday and beat George Washington at home on Saturday. Dayton has lost its last six road games and won its last four home games.
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Even if Dayton goes 2-0 this week and finishes tied for sixth with George Mason and St. Joseph’s, it would get the No. 8 seed because it was 0-2 against those teams. If Dayton goes 0-2 this week, it could fall to the No. 11 seed and play in the 8:30 p.m. first-round game Wednesday (likely against last-place Fordham).
9. Richmond (10-20, 8-10): The Spiders overcame a 3-13 start to win six of their next seven games. Now they’re back to where they started with a five-game losing streak. Expect them to end that streak Wednesday with a home game against Massachusetts. The Spiders would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to Dayton for the eighth seed, though there’s no real difference between No. 8 and 9 seeds.
10. George Washington (14-17, 7-11): The Colonials started the A-10 schedule 2-8 but have since won four of six games. They’ll beat Fordham at home Wednesday and then lose at Dayton.
11. La Salle (13-18, 7-11): The Explorers are 5-3 at home and 1-7 on the road. They have a 61 percent chance of beating Dayton at Tom Gola Arena and should win that game before losing at St. Joseph’s. They would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker against George Washington.
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12. Duquesne (15-16, 6-12): The Dukes will see their slide continue with a loss at home to Saint Louis and then a loss at UMass.
13. Massachusetts (12-19, 5-13): The Minutemen should go 1-1 this week with a loss at Richmond and a win vs. Duquesne.
14. Fordham (9-21, 4-14): An 0-2 week, with losses to George Washington and VCU, would leave Fordham in last place for the first time since 2014.
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