Atlantic 10 tournament: Can Dayton, Rhode Island rally late?

Our conference tournament previews continue with the Atlantic 10, which may send only three teams to the NCAA tournament despite emerging as a candidate a month ago to put as many as six teams in the field.

Atlantic 10 Tournament

Date: March 9, 12-14

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

First round
No. 8 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 9 Dusquesne
No. 5 Rhode Island vs. No. 12 St. Joseph's
No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 George Washington
No. 6 Charlotte vs. No. 11 UMass

No. 1 Temple vs. St. Bonaventure/Dusquesne
No. 2 Xavier vs. Dayton/George Washington
No. 3 Richmond vs. Charlotte/UMass
No. 4 Saint Louis vs. Rhode Island/St. Joseph's

Favorites: Temple (26-5, 14-2), Xavier (23-7, 14-2)

Contenders: Richmond (24-7, 13-3), Dayton (19-11, 8-8)

Did you know: Despite a roster of consisting of eight freshman, four sophomores and no upperclassmen, Saint Louis won 11 games in the toughest Atlantic 10 in years to finish fourth.

Outlook: Xavier, Temple and Richmond are all solidly in the NCAA tournament and playing for seeding, but that could be the only three bids the Atlantic 10 receives. Dayton and Rhode Island need to at least make the title game to have a chance after fading terribly late in the Atlantic 10 season, while Charlotte might need to win the tournament altogether to have a chance. Of the top teams, the one with the most favorable draw is Temple. The Owls should be heavily favored in every game until the finals, whereas co-champ Xavier could have to go through Dayton and Richmond to get there.

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