One thing is clear from this list.. the talent level in the A-10 is far superior to any other non-BCS league. So much so that I expanded the ranking from the Top 10 to Top 20 just because there were so many guys to consider. 15 to 20 in the A-10 would arguably be top 5 or 6 in the CAA or MVC right now.
1. Brian Roberts, G, Dayton - Flyers best player is the league's most efficient scorer
2. Ahmad Nivins, F, Saint Joseph's - One of the A-10's only powerful inside forces
3. Bryant Dunston, F, Fordham - Numbers dipped last year, but Rams win total continued to rise
I begin this blog with a quote from my last post:
"Although you normally want to wait until a team plays more than two games to state that they are the clear favorite to win their conference, can anybody truly challenge Penn at the top of the Ivy League? Preseason prognosticators tabbed Princeton to finish second, but they're sitting in last place right now. Maybe Cornell or Yale? Who knows, but I'll take the Quakers over the field." (January 29th)
Whoops. After this weekend's games (a sweep of Princeton and Penn), James Jones' Yale Bulldogs are atop the Ivy League with a 5-1 conference record. Yale is led by the tandem of guard Eric Flato and guard/forward Casey Hughes. This is an experienced ballclub that should hang around for the duration of the season and challenge for the league's automatic bid. They've played two more games than Penn, which explains the two-game lead in the win column (they're tied in the loss category), and they've got the Columbia/Cornell road swing this coming weekend. If they can get through that with at least a split, if not a sweep, the Bulldogs have their next four games at home. The season ends with games at Penn and Princeton, and those games could indeed decide who represents the Ivy in the NCAA Tournament.
In yesterday's Dribble.. I ranked all 73 BCS teams.. from UCLA to Colorado. I got a nice response about that list.. so I decided to do a ranking of the top "mid-major" leagues, ie, the 2nd tier leagues. The 2nd tier compromises the 62 teams of the A10, CAA, CUSA, MVC, MWC, and WAC. This leaves out the Horizon and the WCC which are the next in line. The Horizon actually has a higher overall RPI than the CAA right now, but this is based almost solely on Butler's hot start. No other HL team is in the top 110, but the CAA has 4 teams in the top 90.
1. Air Force 6-1 19-2
2. Memphis 6-0 16-3
The first college basketball weekend of 2007 has delivered some interesting results. First off, how many people expected Hartford and Maryland-Baltimore County to be on top of America East after the first weekend of play? The Hawks, led by first-year head coach Dan Leibovitz, won a 62-60 thriller at Maine on opening night, then followed that win with an 80-75 double-OT home win over Boston University. The Hawks only have two seniors on the roster, so it would be understandable if people looked to their future instead of the present. Of course the two seniors, forwards Bo Taylor and Alex Zimnickas, are important contributors, but the Hawks also have some solid youngsters playing a part in their success. Freshman guard Joe Zeglinski is the team's second leading scorer, and sophomores Jaret Von Rosenberg, Michael Turner and Fabrice Tafo combined for 26 points off the bench in their win at Maine. A young team has its bumps in the road, but the future could be now for the Hawks.
Just about every conference had one team in action yesterday.. so I thought for a change that I'd run down the results conference by conference.. a little bit of fun for everyone.
America East.. Last year's tournament representative, Albany, had their 5-game winning streak snapped at Utah Valley State (discussed in yesterday's independents review). The Great Danes head into conference play with a 7-5 record, presumably the favorites along with 8-5 Vermont.
Atlantic 10.. Saint Louis picked up their 8th win in 9 home games, beating Ole Miss (the Billikens first win over a BCS team in almost 3 years.. Kansas State in January of 2004). The Bills face a poor Saint Bonaventure squad to start conference play, where they should improve to 11-3.