Offseason Atlantic 10 Power Rankings 1.0
1) Richmond Spiders
The Spiders have the best returning cast this year, between First Team All A-10 and A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Jacob Gilyard, Blake Francis, and Grant Golden. However, all three will be seniors. Tulane transfer Connor Crabtree could take the next step and provide a boost to the Spiders’ bench.
Richmond went 14-4 in conference play last year, finishing second behind nationally ranked Dayton. With several key departures from Dayton, Richmond seems poised to win the A-10 in 2020-21.
2) Saint Louis
The Billikens also have a strong case to top the conference next season. They will be returning several key players, including All A-10 selections Jordan Goodwin, Hasahn French, and Javonte Perkins. St. Louis had bad luck with injuries last season, preventing them from reaching their full potential, but with a few role players returning, and another year of experience, this team could be playing in March.
Dayton won’t be the force that they were last year after losing A-10 Player of the Year Obi Toppin and Trey Landers, but they should still compete for a top spot in the conference.
The Flyers belong to Jalen Crutcher now, after significant improvement last season. Crutcher was on fire, shooting 52/42/87. He was more efficient, performing better with less playing time than the prior season. Crutcher is primed to continue improving with a larger role on the team, and Ibi Watson and Rodney Chatman rounding out the backcourt.
The Flyers will still be a good team, but losing Toppin and Landers, and rotation uncertainty, will cause a bit of a dip in the standings.
The Dukes are returning a lot of their roster from last season after going 21-9 and finishing fifth in the A10. Forward Marcus Weathers will likely make the jump from Second Team to First Team All A-10, and Sincere Carry is back as the Dukes talented starting point guard.
Duquesne has a great core of players returning, with strong starters with good role players that should slightly improve the Dukes from their sixth-place finish last year.
UMass had an up-and-down 2019-20 campaign, but reigning A-10 Rookie of the Year Tre Mitchell is poised to pick up where he left off. Add in a healthy TJ Weeks, a full season of Dibaji Walker, and transfers Javohn Garcia and Noah Fernandes, and UMass is primed to continue to improve under coach Matt McCall.
Aside from Mitchell, UMass mostly has strength in numbers and roster depth. There will be plenty of minutes to go around. With a good year of experience under their belt, and a healthier roster, UMass should take the next step in 2020.
With Fatts Russell announcing his return to URI, expect the Rams to be near the top of the A-10 once again.
Especially if Makhi and Makhel Mitchell get their redshirt years waived after transferring from Maryland, URI could be a sneaky good team. However, I think an overall lack of depth will keep the Rams from being a top team in the A-10, especially considering all of the senior departures from last season.
7) St Bonaventure
I’m not high on the Bonnies this season. While they beat most of the teams that they should have last year, they also lost to teams that they need to contend with in order to be ranked higher. Sure, the Bonnies will have an improved roster in both talent and health, but the A-10 is loaded with “good, not great” teams, and I’m not impressed with the Bonnies 2019-20 campaign enough to put them any higher.
The Rams had one of the most disappointing seasons in college basketball last year. They were the favorite to win the A-10, and were ranked 25th in the AP Preseason Poll. VCU finished ninth in the conference, going 8-10 in A-10 play and 18-13 overall.
VCU lost a lot of veteran players, including Marcus Santos-Silva transferring to Texas Tech. However, the Rams have a few things going for them. Bones Hyland was solid last year and could become one of the best players in the conference. VCU also has a solid freshman class coming in. The Rams will have to hit the reset button after a totally underwhelming season, but the roster isn’t quite good enough to get out of Brooklyn.
I’m not very high on the Cats going into next season. Davidson is in kind of the same boat as UMass. They have a lot of depth on their roster, but they don’t have a top talent that will attract double teams and get other guys open.
Davidson dropped five spots in the standings from last season, and now they only have Kellan Grady to lean on after Jon Axel Gudmundsson’s departure.
10) George Washington
Believe it or not, George Washington has a strong freshman class returning this year, such as Jamison Battle, who made the A-10 All Freshman team.
Maceo Jack and Jameer Nelson are also returning, but they need to improve their three-point accuracy or become more comfortable attacking the basket to be truly effective players. Battle, Jack, and Nelson collectively shot 39.9% from the field last season. That needs to improve significantly before anyone views GW as a true threat.
11) George Mason
The Patriots are a pretty easy team to analyze. While AJ Wilson won the Most Improved award in the A-10 last year, George Mason just doesn’t have the depth that the top teams in the conference have.
They’re not bad enough to finish at the bottom of the standings, but they’re also not a true contender for Brooklyn. Their defense isn’t bad, but they don’t have enough offensively to compete in a crowded A-10.
12) La Salle
There’s no denying that losing Ed Croswell to Providence hurts the Explorers. La Salle has a handful of decent players returning, such as David Beatty and Scott Spencer. If Jack Clark takes a step forward in his sophomore season, La Salle could be good enough to not finish last, and that’s about all they have going for them.
13) St. Joe’s
St. Joe’s is nervously waiting to hear if Ryan Daly follows through with his declaration for the NBA Draft, or if he returns for his senior season. Taylor Funk should also return from injury.
Still, this isn’t a team that will surprise anyone, even if Daly does return. They finished tied for last place in 2019-20, and for good reason. Their defense is awful, allowing close to 80 points per game. They had by far the worst net rating in the A-10, and nothing points to the Hawks improving on any of those statistics next year.
Fordham is too high. They just don't have much going for them. In a conference full of Rams, they’re by far the worst. Their offense was atrocious last season, averaging less than 60 points per game and shooting 38.4% from the floor. They didn’t do anything to improve their roster, and with the A-10 collectively improving, it’s hard to see Fordham making much, if any, noise.