Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Season Preview (2020-21)
The Dayton Flyers (29-2, 18-0) were on their way toward capturing a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before last season was halted. Fast forward to the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season, and Anthony Grant is staring up at Richmond and Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 odds.
Aside from the obvious choices, there’s one sleeper team in this conference you may want to keep tabs on.
Here’s an Atlantic 10 basketball season preview to hash everything out.
Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament Odds
Saint Louis is the favorite to win the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at MyBookie. Richmond and Dayton are nipping at the Billikens heels, while the lack of respect for Rhode Island is glaring.
The Rams finished third in the A10 a season ago and bring back leading scorer Fatts Russell (18.8 ppg). On top of that, the Mitchell twins (transfers from Maryland) are eligible to play for David Cox straight from the get-go.
A Trio of Favorites in the A10
As much potential as Rhode Island has, they won’t begin the year as one of the prime contenders in the A10. However, we can count our bottom dollar that the following three teams will be in the hunt.
Saint Louis Billikens
Saint Louis was the only college basketball team to have two players average a double-double last year. The good news for Travis Ford is both of these guys (Jordan Goodwin, Hasahn French) are returning. Throw in a 6’6” senior guard named Javonte Perkins who contributed 15.0 ppg as a junior and rising sophomore Gibson Jimerson – an absolute flamethrower who connected on 42.9% of his treys as a freshman.
It’s no wonder almost every Atlantic 10 basketball season preview ranks Saint Louis at the top.
With games against LSU and Minnesota scheduled before Christmas, it won’t take us long to get a glimpse at how high the Billikens ceiling is.
The reason not every A10 basketball preview has Saint Louis leading the way is because the Spiders are for real. Losing Nick Sherod to a torn ACL wasn’t ideal news, but a backcourt of Blake Francis and Jacob Gilyard might still be the best in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Grant Golden (13.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.4 apg) decided not to turn pro and is back for his senior year at Richmond. The 6’10” 255-pound big man glues everything together for Chris Mooney.
Had Obi Toppin returned, we’d be talking about the Flyers as a legitimate Final Four contender. Og what could have been.
A National Championship may be out of reach, but senior PG Jalen Crutcher can still lead his team to the top of the A10.
Crutcher becomes the #1 option for a squad that will seek help from RS freshmen Zimife Nwokeji and Moulaye Sissoko. Unfortunately, after sustaining an unblemished record in the conference last season, “back” is the only direction the Flyers can go.
Naming One Sleeper in Atlantic 10
St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies won’t tip-off their season until December 15th vs Akron – and that’s assuming things pan out as scheduled. With that being said, a +1000 price tag for a team with this much talent is way too juicy to pass on.
For starters, all six of the Bonnies leading scorers from last year’s squad are back. This includes Conference POY contender Kyle Lofton and arguably the top rim-protector in the A10, Osun Osunniyi.
Depth won’t be an issue thanks to a couple of JUCO transfers (Jalen Shaw, Eddie Creel), and the balance of scoring inside and outside is prevalent. This is a complete team that will be hungry to make strides.
A10 Basketball – Best Players in 2020-21
Let’s round out this Atlantic 10 basketball season preview by highlighting the three best players in the A10.
Jordan Goodwin – Saint Louis
10.4 rebounds per game at the college level is good for anyone. When you’re a 6’3” guard with playmaking abilities for days, it’s quite the anomaly.
I didn’t include Goodwin in my original list of the top Wooden Award candidates in 2021, but perhaps it’s time to make an amendment. The heart and soul of the Billikens program is the main reason the A10 basketball odds have Saint Louis sitting on the throne.
Kellan Grady – Davidson
Three straight seasons averaging at least 17.2 ppg tells you all you need to know about the 6’5 shooting guard. Grady excels in transition, can finish with either hand around the basket, and has no problem defending the opposition’s best perimeter player.
I’d tell you Kellan is poised for a breakout senior season, but this kid broke out the moment he stepped foot on campus.
Tre Mitchell – UMass
Talk about making your presence felt as a true freshman. Tre Mitchell burst onto the scene at UMass, totaling 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. A big man who chipped in with 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals shot nearly 74% from the charity stripe and can stroke it from outside.
Mitchell’s got awesome footwork and a great understanding of how to use his size and strength to his advantage.
Four More NCAAB Conference Season Previews
I’m picking Richmond to win the A10 Tournament as noted in my college basketball conference predictions.
If you want to continue diving into individual conference previews, here’s a four-pack to keep you entertained.