Upon us is the most prestigious and wondrous conference tournament in all the land, the Atlantic 10 tourney.
Okay, so I might just be saying that because I'm a Temple University alum.
But, the Atlantic 10 Tournament this year has very real implications for the landscape of the NCAA tourney.
The conference could potentially sneak up to four teams into the Big Dance, depending on how the conference tourney shakes out. Temple and St. Louis are locks, but both Xavier and St. Joseph's are firmly on the bubble.
Joe Lunardi of ESPN has Xavier as one of his "last four in" and St Joe's as one of his "Next four out".
Make no mistake about it, bubble teams around the country will be hoping for quick exits by Xavier and St. Joe's and for a tournament title for either Temple or St. Louis.
Otherwise, the A-10 will be stealing some bids.
Bracket, Dates, Start Time and TV Schedule
Note: All first-round games will be played at the home court of the higher seed. All subsequent rounds will be played at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
|First||1||Tuesday, March 6th||#8 Massachusetts vs. #9 Duquesne||7:00 p.m. EST||Local stations|
|First||2||Tuesday, March 6th||#5 St. Joseph's vs. #12 Charlotte||7:00 p.m. EST||Local stations|
|First||3||Tuesday, March 6th||#7 La Salle vs. #10 Richmond||7:00 p.m. EST||Local stations|
|First||4||Tuesday, March 6th||#6 Dayton vs. #11 George Washington||7:00 p.m. EST||Local stations|
|Second||5||Friday, March 9th||#1 Temple vs. Game 1 winner||12:00 p.m. EST||CBS Sports Network (syndicated)|
|Second||6||Friday, March 9th||#4 St. Bonaventure vs. Game 2 winner||2:30 p.m. EST||CBS Sports Network (syndicated)|
|Second||7||Friday, March 9th||#2 St. Louis vs. Game 3 winner||6:30 p.m. EST||CBS Sports Network (syndicated)|
|Second||8||Friday, March 9th||#3 Xavier vs. Game 4 winner||9:00 p.m. EST||CBS Sports Network (syndicated)|
|Semifinals||9||Saturday, March 10th||Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner||1 p.m. EST||CBS Sports Network|
|Semifinals||10||Saturday, March 10th||Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner||3:30 p.m. EST||CBS Sports Network|
|Championship||11||Sunday, March 11th||Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner||1 p.m. EST||CBS|
Prediction: Temple Owls
I know I'll be accused of homerism here, but is there any question Temple was the best team in the conference this year?
They finished 13-3 in the A-10, have the nation's 13th-best RPI and boast victories over Duke and Wichita State. They come into the tournament on a hot streak, going 13-1 over their past 14 games.
They are a scary perimeter team, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc (11th in the nation) and are led by dangerous guards Ramone Moore (17.8 ppg), Khalif Wyatt (17.1 ppg) and Juan Fernandez (11.4 ppg).
Temple isn't just a team to be reckoned with in the A-10 tourney; they're a team other schools will hope to avoid in the NCAA tourney.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are bounty free.