The State of the (Hot)lantic 10 - Week 2

By Michael Weber

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Boardwalk Hall - Site of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Men's Tournament

Look-ie to the left.  That's where you are going to find out who represents the A10 in the NCAA Tournament this year.  The Atlantic 10 is slowly, but surely, turning into a one bid league.  Richmond and Temple both dropped games this week and Dayton lost last week to a horrible Umass team.  I suppose Xavier could make a run, but right now, I see nothing to indicate that this league will get more than one bid.  Sure, Temple could explode from here on out and then lose in Atlantic City and help our league get two bids.  But, a chest of gold could also drop clear out of the sky and into my bedroom.  I don't follow any other league real close, but I have to wonder if this sort of thing happens in other conferences.  Do teams like Richmond, Dayton and Temple set themselves up nicely to make a serious run at the NCAA Tournament only to lay an egg in conference play?  Saint Louis and St. Joe's both entered their league game this week with a combined conference record of 0-6 and identical records of 5-11.  I don't know what's more weird, the fact that those two teams were 0-6 in the league or that 6,908 people actually showed up for that game.  Is there not anything else going on in Saint Louis these days?  There is a rather vocal crowd calling for Phil Martelli to be fired.  Why?  He had one bad year and then obviously this year has been a disaster.  I think fans got out of control when they hit the elite 8.  Trust me, that was an aberration, not the norm hawk fans.  Give the guy a shot to turn this around before you decide to pull the trigger.  If you don't believe me about the things that can happen during a coaching change without a plan, google the name "Michael Haywood".  Click below for the awards of the week.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  Duquesne - I know, I'm a homer.  I get it.  Really, I do.  Late in the first half of their game against Saint Louis on Wednesday night, Duquesne trailied the Billikens by a score of 25-21.  They finished the half on an 8-0 run and never looked back for the entire week.  It took St. Louis roughly 12 minutes to score a FG in the 2nd half and the Dukes won 67-45.  Then, in a highly anticipated game at the AJ Palumbo Center, Duquesne raced out to a 22-2 lead against #19 Temple.  They never looked back, winning 78-66 in a game that wasn't really all that close.  They are now 3-0 and sit a top the standings with Xavier and GW. 

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Tu Holloway, Xavier - In his two games this week, he scored 19 and 24 points respectively.  He grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 14 dimes.  He led Xavier to two nice wins, one of which was over the arch-rival Dayton Flyers. 

GAME OF THE WEEK:  Dayton @ Xavier, 81-76 win by the Musketeers - There was honestly a lot to choose from this week.  Richmond and Rhode Island played a back and forth game in Virginia earlier in the week.  Umass and LaSalle went played to a score of 74-71.  But, anytime the cryers flyers and musketeers get together, it always has a chance to be a real thriller.  This was exactly that.  The game was nationally televised on CBS College Sports.  It was an excellent game, and quite frankly one in which Dayton could have won.  Chris Wright committed a silly foul in the later stages of the game to foul out and end all chances the flyers had to win this battle. 

DUD OF THE WEEK:  Richmond Spiders - At 13-4 and 2-0 in the A10, Richmond was headed for a 3-0 start and relatively easy path to an NCAA Tournament bid should they be able to take care of their home court and split their road games.  And then they ran into Nikola Malesevic, who hit 6 of 8 three's to lead the Rams into Richmond(and out of it).  And Jim Baron gets another win that keeps making people think that he is the right guy to get URI over the "hump". 

SURPRISE TEAM OF THE WEEK:  Duquesne - I don't believe anyone thought Duquesne would end this week 2-0 and 3-0 in the conference.  They did.  That's a surprise in my book. 

STAT LINE YOU PROBABLY MISSED OF THE WEEK:  OK, so this one really isn't about something that happened in the box score of any game, but did you know that Dayton hasn't won in Cincinnati against Xavier since 1981?  And...they'll also have to wait another year.  They actually play for some trophy named the "Blackburn-McCafferty Trophy". 

WEB'S DUQUESNE FLAVOR OF THE WEEK:  TJ McConnell was late to a team pre-game breakfast Saturday morning before the Temple game.  He was 10 minutes late and thus sat the first 10 minutes of the game.  He never really got into the flow of the game as a result of this.  Another shout out to the Duquesne women...15-2 with a win over Dayton, in Dayton.