2020-21 Atlantic-10 basketball preview

The Atlantic-10 is one of my favorite conferences this year. Dayton sure was a lot of fun last season. Not being able to see the Flyers and Obi Toppin in the NCAA Tournament was probably one of the most disappointing things about March Madness being canceled. Toppin was one of the most exciting players in college basketball. He won all of the Player of the Year awards, and it would’ve been nice to see what he could’ve done in the NCAA Tournament. Not only was Toppin the best player in college basketball, his supporting cast was terrific as well. Remember debating whether Dayton deserved a 1 seed back in February? Good times.

The Flyers still have a good cast coming back, but certainly other teams are returning some serious talent as well. Richmond is my favorite team. Probably my favorite outside of Wisconsin and North Carolina. The Spiders beat the Badgers early on, and we all were ready to fire Greg Gard. Well Richmond put itself in good position to make the NCAA Tournament, and the Badgers were polling nothing worse than a four seed. Richmond was supposed to return all five starters, but Nick Sherod went down during training camp. Blake Francis, Jacob Gilyard and Grant Golden can all make great passes. Nathan Cavo is your typical role player, and Richmond is excited for Tyler Burton, who will be replacing Sherod in the starting lineup. I could go on and on about Richmond’s talent and potential.

Saint Louis is definitely another complete team. Javonte Perkins averages over 15 points per game. Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French are walking double-doubles. Yurki Collins isn’t much of a scorer, but he can average over five assists per game. The only thing the Billikens are lacking is a key three-point shooter, but Perkins has potential if he finds himself in the starting lineup. Duquesne and St. Bonaventure has good balance, but the lack of experience may hurt them. But don’t count them out when it comes to flirting with the NCAA Tournament.

Jalen Crutcher and Rodney Chatman should keep Dayton competitive. Fatts Russell will have to do just about everything for Rhode Island, but there’s no doubt he’s one of the best in the Atlantic-10. Kellan Grady is still at Davidson, and Tre Mitchell is an exciting player at UMass. That’s where the conference will separate itself from contenders to non.

Preseason predictions

1 Richmond
2 Saint Louis
3 Dayton
4 Duquesne
5 St. Bonaventure
6 Rhode Island
7 Davidson
8 UMass
9 George Mason
10 George Washington
11 La Salle
12 VCU
13 Fordham
14 Saint Joseph’s

First team

G Jalen Crutcher, Dayton
G Jacob Gilyard, Richmond
G Fatts Russell, Rhode Island
F Grant Golden, Richmond
F Jordan Goodwin, Saint Louis

Second team

G Blake Francis, Richmond
G Kyle Lofton, St. Bonaventure
F AJ Wilson, George Mason
F Hasahn French, Saint Louis
C Tre Mitchell, UMass

Third team

G Rodney Chatman, Dayton
G Javonte Perkins, Saint Louis
G Kellan Grady, Davidson
F Marcus Weathers, Duquesne
F Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure

Player of the Year: Jacob Gilyard, Richmond

Photo courtesy of RichmondSpiders.com

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