Hey, guys and gals! It’s time for Ramblermania’s 2023-24 A-10 pre-season preview and predictions. It’s a lively mixture of gut feelings, hot takes, contrarianism and conventional wisdom served up with a side of cynicism and giddy insecurities. Don’t let the jazz hands and the laser light show distract you, this is practically scientific….. ish….
Dayton has the best individual player in the league and two more who rank in the top 12. Anthony Grant will want to make up for last season’s mystifying underperformance.
I think Duquesne has a lot of momentum after last year’s huge improvement, and the talent and attitude appears to be really positive with this group. They throttled Loyola and beat VCU, but lost to Fordham (twice), Davidson, and UMass.
3. St. Bonaventure
Seems like some great pieces have been put together, and Mark Schmidt knows how to conjure wins in this league. The incoming transfers are really impressive, and they kept the best performers from last year’s 8-10 team.
New coach and almost an entirely new team with (perhaps?) a whole new philosophy. There’s a lot of talent here, and the coach is top notch. But I feel like there will be a rough patch or two in adjusting to the league.
5. St. Joseph’s
Billy Lange needs to break through with an experienced team in his fifth year. Greer and Reynolds make an explosive backcourt, and the big men have another year of experience.
The surest thing in the A-10 this year is Loyola will be considerably better than last year. Really good transfers based on specific needs in a new conference, knowing the ropes a bit, a helpful schedule, and a demonstrably better attitude on the sidelines will make for probably 20-22 wins. If things click well and go better than that, top three is in reach.
7. George Mason
Tony Skinn is a new coach with almost a totally new team, but his defensive schemes in the televised exhibition with Kentucky really impressed me. He’s recruited a lot of players with skills and physicality fit for how this league plays. Could be a big surprise team, and I’m betting they do.
8. Saint Louis
Just gonna say it: I’ve never been particularly impressed by Travis Ford as a coach. Saint Louis has so many resources and advantages— in seven seasons there, Ford has never done better than 12-6 in conference, has only 1 tournament appearance from an unexpected miracle conference tourney, and appears to be back at the drawing board after plowing through some program record-setting talent.
Their best A-10 season (last year) was boosted by the weakest conference schedule in the league and the weakest non-con schedule of any team in all of college basketball. Despite winning 25 games, they still didn’t get an NIT invite with a 137 KenPom—thanks to their abysmal schedule strength that helped drag the whole conference down.
I feel like Frank Martin is about to start getting some traction in his second year at UMass. Can an old-school coach with strict discipline and high expectations succeed in the era of a transfer portal and NIL? Got to root for his efforts, at least.
Many people have Richmond higher, just based on Chris Mooney’s experience, likeability, and recent health challenges. But I think they lost a whole lot to graduation and transfer. Still rooting for Coach Mooney as an honorable guy.
The Wildcats lost Foster Loyer and Sam Mennenga, two stellar individual players, plus starter Des Watson. Even with those three, Davidson finished two games below .500 in conference. It’s a rebuilding year at Davidson.
13. Rhode Island
Archie Miller got a late start on building his first-year team, and it showed in the standings. This season he’s done another complete re-build with a little more prep time.
14. George Washington
GW had their third-best season in a decade last year, thanks to several seniors who have departed. James Bishop and Maximus Edwards are good (and exciting) players, but the defense is going to struggle.
15. La Salle
The Explorers’ entire frontcourt and their best three-point shooter departed after last year’s 12-place finish, replaced by two freshmen and a juco. There is only one player on the roster with D-1 experience over 6’5”.
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