Here are my Atlantic Ten power rankings heading into Wednesday’s matchups.
1. Butler (16-2, 3-0). The ninth-ranked Bulldogs are riding a 13-game winning streak. Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones is the co-Atlantic Ten player of the week.
2. VCU (16-3, 4-0). Like Butler, 19th-ranked and co-league newcomer VCU has won 13 consecutive games. Shaka Smart is an impressive 100-31 in four seasons as the Rams coach.
3. Xavier (11-6, 4-0). Who woke up the Musketeers? After struggling in nonconference play, Xavier has been unbeatable in the A-10.
4. Temple (11-4, 2-2). The Owls retain their rankings even after an embarrassing loss to St. Bonaventure. It’s only because the four teams that were ranked behind them – St. Louis, Charlotte, La Salle and Massachusetts – also lost on Saturday.
5. St. Joe’s (10-6, 1-2). The Hawks have one of the toughest league schedules to date. As a result, one can only expect things to balance out for St. Joe’s.
6. Richmond (12-7, 2-2). The Spiders look to pull off their second consecutive statement win when they host cross-town rival VCU in Thursday’s Black & Blue Classic. Richmond leads the conference in three-point field-goal percentage (38). Unlike when they lost to La Salle, the Spiders are starting to learn how to play without injured forward Derrick Williams (sprained ankle).
7. Charlotte (15-3, 3-1). The previously untested 49ers will get an opportunity to prove that they’re better than Saturday’s lopsided loss to Richmond indicates on Wednesday against Xavier. Charlotte ranks 10th nationally in field-goal percentage defense (37.2).
8. La Salle (12-5, 2-2). The Explorers are in the midst of the grueling three-game stretch. They lost at Xavier Saturday. They entertain Butler on Wednesday and travel to VCU this upcoming Saturday.
9. St. Louis (12-5, 1-2). The Billikens will look to snap their two-game losing streak on Wednesday at Duquesne. Senior forward Cory Remekun still leads the conference in field-goal percentage (62.5).
10. George Washington (8-9, 2-2). The youthful Colonials are more competitive than their record would indicate. George Washington will be tough to beat once it learns how to close out games.
11. UMass (12-5, 2-2). The Minutemen fell short of pulling off a come-from-behind victory over the Colonials. It didn't help that they were without shooting guard Jesse Morgan. The Olney High product suffered a season-ending torn ACL against St. Louis on Jan. 10.
12. St. Bonaventure (8-9, 1-3). The defending A-10 tournament champion Bonnies snapped a six-game losing streak by upsetting Temple Saturday at the Liacouras Center. It was St. Bonaventure’s first win against the Owls outside of Olean, NY.
13. Rhode Island (6-10, 1-2). Rhody beat St. Louis for the fifth consecutive time by making 10 of 10 foul shots in overtime. The Rams also shot a season-best 55 percent from the field for the game.
14. Dayton (10-7, 0-3). The Flyers are 0-3 in conference play for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Expect them to stop the slide on Wednesday against Fordham. Dayton has won six straight and 12 of the last 13 meetings against the Rams.
15. Fordham (5-13, 1-2). Rams senior forward Chris Gaston is the third player in Fordham history to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. He’ll have to post stellar efforts for the Rams to be competitive in upcoming games against Dayton, Rhode Island, St. Joe’s and VCU.
16. Duquesne (7-11, 0-4). The Dukes are riding a six-game losing streak. Duquesne ranks last in the A-10 in free throw percentage (64.5) and three-point field-goal percentage defense (38.8).