Atlantic 10 Tournament 2013: Favorite, Dark Horse and Cinderella for Epic Tourney

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIMarch 12, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Dwayne Evans #21, Jordair Jett #5 and Grandy Glaze #1 of the Saint Louis Billikens celebrate after a play against the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse on February 22, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Saint Louis defeated Butler 65-61. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Outside of the power six conferences, the Atlantic 10 is arguably the best conference in the country.

The conference has been growing bigger and bigger in recent years, and new teams like VCU and Butler will be looking to steal the show in Brooklyn and win the conference tourney.

Let's take a look at the favorite, darkhorse and Cinderella for this epic event.


Favorite: Saint Louis Billikens

It's tough to pick against the team that won the A-10 regular season tile and ranks the highest of any A-10 team in the AP Poll.

With five players scoring at least 9.8 points per games, the team has a nice mix of players who can step up on any given night.

Dwayne Evans is the go-to guy for the Billikens, averaging 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game—he leads the team in both categories.

Saint Louis closed out the regular season strong, finishing 12-1 and beating Butler twice and VCU once, the second- and third-best teams in the conference, respectively.

The Billikens have a ton of talent, and they have to be considered the favorite to win it all in Brooklyn.


Darkhorse: Temple Owls

It's tough to call Temple a darkhorse when the Owls rank fourth in the conference, but there is a good chance that the team will be able to take down Saint Louis, Butler and VCU to win it all.

Led by Khalif Wyatt's 19.9 points and 4.1 assists per game (both team highs), the Owls have an excellent backcourt. Their frontcourt is solid as well, with Scootie Randall and Anthony Lee combining for 22.1 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.

Temple has the potential to beat any team in the country, and they have already taken down No. 3 Syracuse and No. 21 VCU, beating the Rams in the regular season finale.

Riding a seven-game winning streak into the tournament, the Owls are hot and could roll through the tournament without a problem.


Cinderella: Xavier Musketeers

Xavier might have been one of the best teams in the conference last season, but this year the team struggled, finishing just 9-7 in conference play.

Entering as the No. 7 seed in the tournament, the Musketeers will start their run against Saint Joe's on Thursday.

Xavier is led by Semaj Christon, whose 15.4 points and 4.7 assists per game both lead the team. Christon is only a freshman, but he is already dominating the A-10, and he will look to continue to do so during the tournament.

Xavier has wins over No. 19 Memphis and No. 16 Saint Louis in the last two weeks, and the team has proven that it can beat the best teams in the nation—they could easily take down a couple of good teams and string a few victories together to win it all.