A-10 Seeding Scenarios: Pray for the 6/7 line

VCU’s win over GW paired with a UMass loss last night put the Rams in sole possession for eighth in the current A-10 standings. The Rams are currently favored to finish in that position by kenpom, a predicted 9-9 A-10 record. Pomeroy has the Rams a favorite at home against Duquesne, but with the Rams recent roster news, that is certainly far from a gimme against the 20-win Dukes that sit 10-6 in conference play at the moment, then sees VCU losing at Davidson, a Wildcats team VCU made easy work of earlier this season, but a squad that hasn’t lost a home game since January 14 against Richmond, their only home loss of the season.

Owning a new head-to-head tie-breaker over GW and sitting two games ahead of the Colonials in the standings, the Rams can finish no lower than ninth — that is no brag, it pains me to type that — so are currently staring down an Atlantic 10 path that would pit the Rams against the No.4 nationally ranked Dayton Flyers.

VCU fans, I get that you like a challenge, but if you enjoy stats/facts and are looking for the best shot at multiple party nights in Brooklyn and…god willing…a possible A-10 tourney championship, trust me, you want off that line.

The Flyers currently rank sixth nationally on kenpom with an adjusted efficiency margin of +23.71, which is…a problem.

Only one A-10 team since kenpom has tracked the stat has matched that number: the Jameer Nelson-led 2004 Saint Joseph’s Hawks that finished 30-2 and earned a No.1 seed in the ’04 NCAA tournament. Yes, I am aware that that Hawks team lost their only game in that season’s A-10 tournament, falling to eventual tourney champ, Xavier, but statistically it’s not a feat VCU will want to attempt to match…at least on a Friday in Brooklyn. Sunday would be a preferable date, if possible.

So how does VCU get off that line and on to the 6/7?

The answer is simple with just two games left to play: win out.

Bob McKillop and his Davidson Wildcats are all that stands in the way of VCU finishing in the top half of the A-10 conference

It doesn’t matter what Davidson does at Richmond on Tuesday. If VCU defeats Duquesne on senior night, then goes down to Belk and upsets Davidson, the two teams would finish the season with at best eight losses each, but VCU having the head-to-head tie-breaker via two wins over Bob McKillop and Co. and would move into the top half of the conference and up off of the Dayton line. If Davidson loses both their remaining contests, VCU could technically lose to Duquesne, but then still jump Davidson with a win over the Wildcats via the head-to-head tie-breakers and as well would take the top spot if, by some chance UMass won their last two (which would included a win over Rhode Island), over a group of VCU, Davidson and UMass if a tie-breaker would be needed in that scenario.

So as hard as it might be to do, you’ll want to root for the Richmond Spiders to hold serve at home against Davidson while VCU is hosting Duquesne. A Wildcats win on Tuesday paired with a VCU loss would lock the Rams into the 8/9 line and a path that would included two noon games to start VCU’s A-10 path in Brooklyn, should VCU win their first game.

Statistically speaking, you don’t want to be on Dayton’s line and for selfish fun-related reasons, as someone attending the tournament, I have no interest in playing at noon as opposed to 6PM or 8:30PM where the possible post-game celebration is much more preferable.

Back on Feb 16 I predicted the A-10 bracket (which you can see here), diving into each team’s remaining schedule and predicting outcomes and tie-breakers. Back then I predicted a loss at either UMass or Duquesne and then a road loss at Davidson. UMass grabbed that early upset to make us a favorite to finish on that 8/9 line instead of the 6/7. I’m hoping VCU can prove me wrong by beating BOTH Duquesne and Davidson, but especially Davidson, to give VCU a much more preferable path through Brooklyn.

The Rams have yet to really win a game they weren’t supposed to this season. What better time to start doing that than right now?

A two-time graduate of VCU (School of the Arts '07, Center for Sport Leadership '10), Mat is a co-founder of VCU Ram Nation and a longtime fan as the ...
I don’t totally agree. We’re probably going to have to beat Dayton to win the tournament. I think we’re more likely to beat them on Friday than on Sunday. Let’s go ahead and get them out of the way early.

Here's my realistic approach to all of this: We aren't likely to win the tournament, so I want as many games as possible, preferably ones that aren't at noon.

Having played noon games the last two years, I just hate them. With this being a vacation for me that costs a couple bucks, I want it to set up for as much fun as possible and I'm of the opinion it's just more fun when you can potentially win a game, then go straight to the bar for a party after. Not only does playing in the evening session make that more of an option for most fans, but are matchups are statistically much more winnable.

It also can just feel like you're in the tourney longer, even if ya lose in the quarterfinals. If we can get on the 6/7 line and win a game, not only do I get to party after that, but I can to watch the first half of the next day, watching teams get eliminated...and w'ere still alive in the tourney.

But yeah, mostly it's just about the best chance to party longer.
Yep agree, the A-10 championship goes through Dayton. Play them first or last, doesn't matter, you will have to get through them one way or the other. Makes no difference if we get beat in the first game or the championship game, we still have to win it to make the NCAA.

While I feel that sentiment, when you've paid for a four-night trip tp Brooklyn that revolves around basketball, I've found it more enjoyable to get as many games as possible. I'd rather lose to Dayton in a possible finals matchup after three wins than have to play them Friday at noon and have our tournament over. It's not that it's impossible to beat them or to lose to any of the other teams, it's just your chances of advancing are statistically better when you aren't playing the second most efficient A-10 teams in decades Friday morning.

All my favorite nights in Brooklyn have come from when we were on the 2-seed side of the bracket playing those later games. Plus being both the 1 and 8 has sucked previously, each bringing us a Friday loss. Those tournaments sucked.
The only positive to finishing 9th (vomit emoji) would be getting a rematch with UMass and right now, that's what the computers (and myself) are predicting.

Historical notes: The last time a kenpom top-100 team finished 9th in the A-10 standings 8-10 Davidson (which is our likely record) finished with that record and won their first time A-10 tourney games, knocking off No.1 seed Dayton before falling to Rhode Island in the semis. The time before that kenpom No.99 Richmond finished 9th, also behind sub-100 teams, won their first game by 15 before falling to No.1 seed Dayton by 15. Before that one the 2014 St. Bonaventure Bonnies finished No.84 on kenpom and 9th in the A-10 standings. They won their first two A-10 tourney games, upsetting kenpom No.35 Saint Louis in the 9 v 1 game in Brooklyn. The 2013 Richmond Spiders finished in the top-100 but 9th in the A-10 as well in a year the conference was just loaded. They lost to No.8 Charlotte in the crazy Chris Mooney technical game. In 2008 was a crazy year that saw two top-80 teams finish behind two sub-100 teams. Both teams (Rhody and Duquesne) lost their first games in that season's tournament.