NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 13: A detailed view of a Spalding basketball during a quarterfinal game between the Davidson Wildcats and La Salle Explorers in the 2015 Men's Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at the Barclays Center on March 13, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

WATCH LIVE: Atlantic 10 basketball doubleheader Saturday on NBCSN

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The Atlantic 10 invades NBCSN and the NBC Sports app on Saturday with two games that will air as part of a doubleheader.

It starts with Davidson at Fordham at 12:00 p.m. and concludes with St. Bonaventure heading to Rhode Island at 2:00 p.m.

CLICK HERE to watch the Atlantic 10 on NBCSN

Looking Forward: Here’s what the Atlantic 10 has in store for the 2016-17 season

dayton
Associated Press
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The NBA Draft’s Early Entry Deadline has come and gone. Just about every elite recruit has decided where they will be playing their college ball next season. The coaching carousel, which ended up spinning a bit faster than initially expected, has come to a close for all of the major programs. 

In other words, by now, we have a pretty good feel for what college basketball is going to look like during the 2016-17 season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what has happened — and what will happen — in the Atlantic 10 over the next six months. 

KEY OFFSEASON STORYLINES

1. Hot coaching names stay put: The A-10 doesn’t lack for quality coaches, with some being discussed for major coaching vacancies on an annual basis. Two that fit the mold are Dayton’s Archie Miller and Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley, with the latter facing some questions in regards to the Rutgers opening earlier this spring. Hurley decided to stay put in Kingston for another season, choosing a talented roster that’s approaching full strength after an injury-riddled 2015-16 instead of taking on a major rebuilding job in his home state. Miller, whose name seemingly comes up regarding every major opening, also has a deep roster to work with next season at Dayton. Unless the opening is a truly elite one, why mess with happiness? VCU’s Will Wade also opted to remain in Richmond. He was targeted by Vanderbilt after Kevin Stallings left for Pitt.

2. The conference’s battle for respect is a continuous one: For those who watch the Atlantic 10 on a consistent basis, there’s no doubt that this is a quality league. But Selection Sunday left a bad taste in the mouths of some, the result of VCU getting a ten-seed or regular season tri-champion St. Bonaventure being left out of the field completely. It would be nice to say that the remedy is to simply win more games, but when it comes to getting teams in the NCAA tournament field who really knows what it takes when discussing a conference like the Atlantic 10 (and the league rated well in out of conference RPI and strength of schedule). The good news for the league is that it has multiple teams capable of playing their way into the national polls and staying there, with Dayton and URI leading the way.

3. Saint Joseph’s getting used to life without top three scorers: Phil Martelli’s Hawks won the Atlantic 10 tournament title and gave top seed Oregon all they wanted in the second round of the NCAA tournament, with DeAndre Bembry and Isaiah Miles leading the way. But those two, along with Aaron Brown, have all moved on meaning that Saint Joseph’s will have to account for the loss of their top three scorers from last season. The positive is that there are options, including guards Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble and forwards James Demery and Pierfrancesco Oliva, to call upon. But making that jump from supplementary piece to key cog in the attack can be a difficult one for some, and how the returning Hawks handle that shift will have a major impact on their season.

4. Incoming transfers will have a significant impact on the conference race: Many Atlantic 10 programs benefitted from the transfer market, whether it was the more conventional transfer (sit out a year before playing) or those of the grad student variety. Dayton (power forward Josh Cunningham) and Rhode Island (shooting guard Stanford Robinson) will both have transfers available, as will teams such as La Salle, George Washington (see below) and Duquesne. Duquesne’s most noteworthy transfer additions are of the grad student variety, with Kale Abrahamson (Drake) and Emile Blackman (Niagara) needing to be key contributors from the start with the Dukes losing the productive tandem of Micah Mason and Derrick Colter. Also adding immediately eligible transfers were George Washington (Patrick Steeves, Harvard) and Fordham (Javontae Hawkins, Eastern Kentucky).

Davidson's Jack Gibbs (12) tries to drive past Iowa's Mike Gesell during the first half of an NCAA tournament college basketball game in the Round of 64 in Seattle, Friday, March 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Davidson’s Jack Gibbs (12) (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

NOTABLE NEWCOMERS

  • La Salle’s transfers: The Explorers’ lack of depth last season placed too much upon the shoulders of Jordan Price, with the team struggling to get wins in spite of his lofty point totals. Dr. John Giannini won’t lack for option in 2016-17, thanks in large part to the transfers who will be able to take the floor. Pookie Powell, B.J. Johnson and Demetrius Henry will all be eligible after sitting out last season, and Arizona State transfer Savon Goodman is eligible to compete immediately as a graduate student. The question: how well will the pieces mesh together?
  • Jaren Sina, George Washington: Another transfer, the former Seton Hall guard will be a key figure for Mike Lonergan’s Colonials. As a sophomore Sina averaged 7.0 points and 2.3 assists per game, but with Alex Mitola out of eligibility and Paul Jorgensen transferring he’ll be asked to run the show for a team that welcomes back Yuta Watanabe and Tyler Cavanaugh.
  • DeJon Jarreau and Brison Gresham, Massachusetts: The two Louisiana natives wanted to attend college together, and in the end their desire to do so benefitted the Minutemen. Of the two Jarreau may be the more important figure early on, as the four-star guard will be asked to help fill the void left by the departures of Trey Davis and Jabarie Hinds on the perimeter.
  • De’Riante Jenkins, VCU: Will Wade landed a quality four-member freshman class, with the 6-foot-5 Jenkins being the crown jewel. Ranked 60th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, Jenkins is the second-highest ranking incoming freshman in the Atlantic 10 (Jarreau is 39th). And with Melvin Johnson graduating, there’s room for the athletic wing to have an immediate impact at VCU.

SURPRISING DEPARTURES

  • L.G. Gill, Duquesne: Not sure how surprising this move truly is, especially considering the current transfer climate. Gill graduates this spring, and with the rules being what they are he can use his final season of eligibility at another school. But the loss of his team’s leading rebounder from a season ago means that head coach Jim Ferry will have to account for the departure of his top three scorers from last season (Derrick Colter and Micah Mason being the others).
  • Paul Jorgensen, George Washington: With Alex Mitola and Joe McDonald both out of eligibility, it appeared as if “Prince Harry of Harlem” was in line for an increase in playing time (averaging just over 15 mpg as a sophomore) in 2016-17. Instead Jorgensen decided to transfer, as his style didn’t always seem to mesh with what GW wanted to do offensively, and he’ll complete his final two seasons of eligibility elsewhere. The move leaves Mike Longeran’s team with even less experience on the perimeter, with Jaren Sina competing with underclassmen such as sophomore Jordan Roland for the point guard spot.

COACHING CHANGES

  • Travis Ford, Saint Louis: After a busy spring in 2015 the Billikens made the lone coaching change in the Atlantic 10 this spring, with the former Oklahoma State head coach replacing the dismissed Jim Crews. Ford has his work cut out for him too, as SLU’s talent issues that resulted in Crews’ firing won’t be remedied overnight. Of Saint Louis’ top five scorers from a season ago three have moved on, with Mike Crawford (10.3 ppg) and Jermaine Bishop (8.9 ppg) being the leading returning scorers. Ford attracted his fair share of talented recruits while in Stillwater, and the hope at SLU will be that he can do similar things while also developing that talent into a team capable of winning in the Atlantic 10.

WAY-TOO-EARLY ALL-CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

G Jack Gibbs (Davidson) – Player of the Year
G E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island)
G Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)
F Charles Cooke III (Dayton)
F Hassan Martin (Rhode Island)

WAY-TOO-EARLY POWER RANKINGS, IN TWEETS

1. Dayton: The Flyers return most of their key cogs, and a Charles Cooke III withdrawal from the NBA Draft would make them a Top 25 team.
2. Rhode Island: Health issues were the biggest problem for Rhody. With Matthews, Martin and Terrell among those back, URI can make a run at the A-10 crown.
3. VCU: Losing Melvin Johnson hurts, but VCU returns both experience and talent. They’ll be fine.
4. Davidson: Led by one of the nation’s top scorers in Jack Gibbs, the Wildcats return forward Peyton Aldridge as well.
5. Richmond: This is a big year for Chris Mooney, but he’s got some key pieces returning led by T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones.
6. George Washington: The Colonials have some key losses to account for, but returning Watanabe and Cavanaugh will help.
7. St. Bonaventure: Yes they lose Marcus Posley and Dion Wright. But Jaylen Adams returns, and it’s time to stop overlooking the job Mark Schmidt’s done as head coach.
8. Saint Joseph’s: Losing your top three scorers would hurt any team. The good news for SJU is that they’re rising sophomores are pretty good.
9. La Salle: The depth issues of last season have been remedied by the influx of transfers. But will all the pieces fit together?
10. Fordham: Jeff Neubauer has a budding all-conference player in Joseph Chartouny at his disposal, but the loss of Ryan Rhoomes hurts.
11. Massachusetts: The freshman class will help the Minutemen down the line, but this team needs to defend far better than they did a season ago.
12. Duquesne: Abrahamson and Blackman were productive stats-wise at prior stops, but can they help vault Jim Ferry’s team up the A-10 standings?
13. George Mason: Losing Shevon Thompson doesn’t help Dave Paulsen’s rebuilding efforts, but give him time. He’ll get Mason headed in the right direction.
14. Saint Louis: Speaking of needing time, Travis Ford is faced with quite the rebuilding project at SLU given the departures and their recent struggles.

VIDEO: Cline, No. 9 Richmond advance to Atlantic 10 quarterfinals

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While the Atlantic 10 tournament does have some teams looking to improve their standing for the upcoming NCAA tournament, there are other programs looking to make sure they wind up playing in any postseason tournament. One of those team was No. 9 seed Richmond, which entered Thursday’s quarterfinal against No. 8 seed Fordham with an overall record of 15-15 and in need of wins in Brooklyn.

Chris Mooney’s Spiders took that first step, beating the Rams 70-55 behind a balanced offensive effort led by forward T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones.

Cline and Jones scored 17 points apiece for Richmond, which finished the game with four double-digit scorers. Cline, who shot 8-for-15 from the field, also accounted for nine rebounds and three assists. Fellow forward Terry Allen scored ten points and grabbed nine rebounds, with guard Khwan Fore adding ten points of his own along with five rebounds and three assists.

The difference in the game was turnovers, more specifically what the Spiders were able to do with Fordham’s mistakes. Jeff Neubauer’s Rams committed 14 turnovers, which Richmond converted into 21 points on the other end. Richmond was also able to slow down the Atlantic 10’s best freshman in Fordham guard Joseph Chartouny. Chartouny scored a team-high 19 points, but he did so on 6-for-19 shooting from the field.

Next up for Richmond is No. 1 seed Dayton in Friday’s quarterfinals in a game that can be seen on NBCSN with coverage beginning at Noon eastern.

VIDEO: Fordham outlasts UMass in overtime

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Fordham snapped a seven-game road losing streak in the Atlantic 10 as the Rams earned a 78-72 overtime win over UMass on Saturday afternoon.

Freshman Joseph Chartouny had a strong all-around effort for Fordham (12-8, 3-6) as he had 18 points, 10 rebound and seven assists while David Pakarek contributed 11 points.

UMass (8-12, 1-7) was led by 21 points from Trey Davis and 19 points from Donte Clark in the loss. Clark hit the game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime with 8.1 seconds left but the Minutemen didn’t have enough to carry that momentum over into the extra frame.

These two teams will play again on Feb. 17.

 

VIDEO: UMass forward Antwan Space drills three quarters-court shot

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UMass senior forward Antwan Space knocked down a three quarters-court shot to beat the first half buzzer on Saturday. The 6-foot-9 Space corralled a rebound and launched the shot from near the opposite 3-point line to tie the score at 32-all in an Atlantic 10 contest against Fordham.

Fordham eventually outlasted UMass for the 78-72 overtime win.

These first-half buzzer-beaters seem to be all the rage today as Butler’s Roosevelt Jones also hit a shot from similar distance against Marquette to tie it up at the break. Just like UMass, Butler eventually lost despite the ridiculous shot.

WATCH LIVE: Fordham battles UMass on NBCSN

St. Louis forward Milik Yarbrough (4) tries to force a turnover by Massachusetts forward Maxie Esho during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, in St. Louis. Massachusetts won 60-56. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)  EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT
(AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)
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Two teams trying to make a move up the Atlantic 10 standings battle on Saturday afternoon as UMass hosts Fordham. You can catch this game on NBCSN at 12 p.m. EST.

The Minutemen (8-11, 1-6) have struggled to find their footing in league play so far as they’ve dropped six consecutive games after winning their conference opener over La Salle. UMass has a strong trio in Trey Davis (19.5 ppg), Donte Clark (17.1 ppg) and Jabarie Hinds (13.7 ppg) that they rely on to do most of the scoring.

Fordham (11-8, 2-6) has dropped five of their last six games as the Rams try to pick up their first road win of the season. With at least six players averaging nine points per game, Fordham has a balanced offensive attack led by Mandell Thomas (14.4 ppg) and Ryan Rhoomes (13.9 ppg).

CLICK HERE to watch this game on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.