VCU no longer controls their own destiny for an A-10 regular season title, but still in good position

Yesterday's stunning home loss to George Mason increased VCU's degree of difficulty in securing a surprise regular season title despite being picked to finish 9th in this year's Atlantic 10 preseason poll, but as of this morning at least, the Rams still remain in great shape in the standings and in control of their own destiny for a much-needed A-10 tournament double-bye.

Due to COVID scheduling difficulties this season that have seen an extreme unbalanced schedule across the conference, the Atlantic 10 has adjusted this year's <a href="">Atlantic 10 seeding policy</a> and even tournament schedule, shortening the regular season and redoing schedules of teams across the conference. With that, VCU will play just two more games to finish their regular season, hosting preseason No.2 and the previously nationally ranked, Saint Louis Billikens, before traveling to Belk Arena to finish the regular season at Davidson.

Our friend Derrick from St. Bonaventure world has created a helpful spread sheet to help fans across the conference keep up with the seeding, taking into account the A-10's new seeding policy.

SBU Unfurled A-10 seeding spreadsheet: <a href=""></a>

<li>VCU (9-3, 75%): v Saint Louis, at Davidson</li>
<li>DAVIDSON (6-2, 75%): at St. Bonaventure, v St. Bonaventure, v VCU</li>
<li>UMASS (6-2, 75%): at Richmond, at Saint Louis</li>
<li>ST. BONAVENTURE (8-3, 73%): v Davidson, at Davidson, v GW, v Dayton</li>
<li>SAINT LOUIS (4-3, 57%, 47 NET rating): at VCU, v Richmond, v UMass</li>
<li>RICHMOND (5-3, 63%): v UMass, at Saint Louis, v Saint Joseph's</li>
<li>DAYTON (8-6, 57%): at Saint Joseph's, at St. Bonaventure</li>
A three-game losing streak to end the regular season would drop VCU to 9-5 in conference play and a 64% winning percentage that could prove a challenge in securing a double-bye top-4 seed, but certainly not impossible to remain top-4 if such a skid were to occur. VCU can max their winning percentage out at 78.6% by winning their next two contests.

UMass, surprisingly enough, can jump the Rams if they are to somehow win two road games to finish the season. An 8-2 conference record would put the Minutemen at an 80% win percentage. That would include two upsets however, with UMass currently an 8-point underdog in both road games remaining.

A flawless Bonnies squad to finish the season would jump VCU as well. Four more wins would put Mark Schmidt's squad at an 80% win percentage, but kenpom predicts a 1-point road loss at Belk against the Wildcats. St. Bonaventure plays one of the most shallow benches in the country (Bona ranks 347th nationally in bench minutes) and faces a daunting four games in eight days gauntlet.

Saint Louis and Richmond were two of the favorites to win the league to start the season, but a head-to-head matchup between the two who are already both several games back is sure to eliminate at least one from a regular season title and top-4 contention.

A huge question for the Rams going forward in their quest to finish first, or even top-4, will no doubt be the availability of leading scorer, Bones Hyland. The sophomore star who's name is more and more frequently appearing in 2021 NBA mock drafts, went down late in the loss against Mason with a foot injury and did not return. Hyland has been banged up with a number of minor injuries, but the Rams will likely need some minutes from him with an already depleted front court due to the dismissal of fellow sophomore guard, Tre Clark, earlier this season.

Not taking into account Hyland's injury, predicts a 10-4 finish (71.4% win percentage) for the black and gold and an 11-4 Bona finish (73%) that would leapfrog VCU in the standings. Pomeroy predicts 7-4 finishes for both Richmond and Davidson (63.6%) with SLU and UMass predicted at 6-4 as well (60%).

The Atlantic 10 tournament will start March 3 in Richmond, splitting rounds between the Siegel Center and Richmond's Robbins Center before heading to Dayton March 14 for the conference final.​

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Mat Shelton-Eide
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