If the final week of the Atlantic 10's regular season is as unpredictable as the one that has just passed, the conference will be giving fans an early treat heading into championship week. Over the past five days there was a change atop the standings, leaving a tie between Xavier and Massachusetts as well as the two last place teams in the conference, Saint Bonaventure and Richmond both pulling off upsets and shaking up the A-10 tournament picture. Saint Joseph's which previously had sole possession of fourth place and control of the final first round bye for the upcoming A-10 tournament in Atlantic City, lost in Richmond on Saturday as the Spider claimed only their seventh win of the season. Now the Hawks find themselves tied with a hot George Washington team that has won three in a row with games versus Charlotte and Duquesne remaining whereas St. Joe's faces the two conference leaders, Xavier and Massachusetts.
1-N.Carolina*, Wisconsin*, UCLA*, Florida*
2-Kansas*, Pitt*, Texas A&M, Ohio St
3-Memphis*, Duke, Washington St, Georgetown
4-S.Illinois*, Virginia, Nevada*, Kentucky
5-Butler*, Indiana, Marquette, Arizona
6-Texas, Air Force*, Michigan St, Boston College
7-Oklahoma St, Oregon, VA Tech, Tennessee
8-W.Virgina, Stanford, Notre Dame, Maryland
9-Louisville, USC, Texas Tech, Purdue
10-Winthrop*, Vanderbilt, Villanova, Illinois
11-Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, GA Tech
12-Xavier*, Gonzaga*, BYU, Creighton
13-VCU*, Akron*, Davidson*, Vermont*
14-S.Alabama*, Penn*, Marist*, Austin Peay*
15-ETSU*, Oral Roberts*, Weber St*, Holy Cross*
The top of the Atlantic 10 proved their merit this past weekend in conference matchups with Rhode Island, Xavier, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph's, and George Washington all turning in victories. Jim Baron's Rhode Island squad continues to hold onto sole possession of first place due to the sharp shooting of the coach's son, Jimmy Baron, the 6'2 sophomore was 11 for 14 from the field including 9 three pointers on the way to beating former Conference USA members Saint Louis and Charlotte. Hanging onto first place looks to be a challenging task as the Rams face Xavier in Cincinnati then head back home to face a formidable Fordham squad. Baron wasn't the only Ram to turn in a solid performance this week as the Rhode Island frontcourt outplayed E.J. Drayton of Charlotte in an 85-69 defeat of the 49ers. In the win, forwards Will Daniels and Joe Mbang combined for 31 points and 15 rebounds to help Rhode Island surprise Charlotte on the boards by a 12 rebound margain.
March Madness has long been known for dramatic buzzer beaters, memorable upsets, and crushing defeats. Guys named Tyus go coast to coast and become heroes for several hours as fans throughout the country breathe a sigh of relief and put that red pen away, the same pen that comes out a few hours later to get some heavy work as some guy named Bryce stakes his claim in March Madness history with a play called "pacer". It's moments like these that make March special, unless the thought of Ryan Howard taking BP off some AA pitcher in Clearwater gets you going, then these are the type of moments that make Jammes Forrest, Mike Miller, and Tate George legends (possibly begrudged) to college basketball fans everywhere.