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A-10 Tournament: Can red-hot Xavier keep it rolling?

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

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The Dagger will be previewing eight of this week's conference tournaments. Here's our look at the A-10 tournament.

A-10 Tournament

Dates: March 8-13

Site: Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, N.J.)

Draw: Click here

Favorite: It's a close call at the top, but top-seeded Xavier gets the nod. Its lone slip-up in conference play was a loss to Charlotte, who finished 13th in the league. Still, the path through the bracket won't be easy, as the Musketeers could possibly face underachieving-yet-very-dangerous Dayton in the quarterfinals. Dayton lost the two regular season meetings to Xavier by a combined margin of only nine points. Still, if Tu Holloway plays like Tu Holloway, Chris Mack's club should, at the very least, get to the tittle game.

Three others who can win it: Temple, the No. 2 seed, got a pretty good draw, as it'll get either La Salle or St. Bonaventure in the quarters — Two teams the Owls casually swept this season. Richmond, at the No. 3 spot, is also dangerous. The Spiders have won four straight coming in, all by double digits, and need to turn some heads to have the full attention of the selection committee. A potential semifinal between them and the Owls could be entertaining. Their last loss was at Temple on Feb. 17, when they got wiped by 20 points. Duquesne, talent-wise, as the No. 4 seed could be considered the dark horse, but losing four out of five to close the regular season out is a bit alarming.

Three players to watch:

Tu Holloway, junior guard, Xavier: Conference Player of the Year averaged 21.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in league play.

Lavoy Allen, senior forward, Temple: He's hot right now, averaging 18 points and 14 boards over the Owls' last five games.

Kevin Anderson/Justin Harper, seniors, Richmond: Anderson, a first-team all-conference guard, and Harper, a high-scoring power forward, make up the league's most dangerous duo. You can't have one without the other.

Bubble implications: Xavier and Temple are safely into the field of 68 at the moment, while the only team in the league really floating around the bubble is Richmond. It has an RPI of 56 and a SoS of 138, but non-conference wins against VCU and Purdue do help some. Winning two here and making the title game, you'd have to think, could lock them in.

Projected champ: It's hard not to take Xavier. If they can get through a pesky quarterfinal contest against either Dayton or UMass, the Musketeers would have a favorable semifinal draw. It's too tough to take either Richmond or Temple, since they'll likely meet in the semis. So Xavier's the pick, but if you want to take the hungriest dog in this tournament, go with Richmond.

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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