Here are my Atlantic Ten power rankings heading into Wednesday’s matchups.
1. Temple (17-5, 6-2). The Owls have won six straight after an ugly loss at Richmond and have the inside track to winning the A-10 regular-season title. Simply put, Temple is playing at a high level.
2. St. Louis (18-5, 6-3). Kudos to coach Rick Majerus for leading the Billikens into a conference championship race after going 12-19 last season. St. Louis has the conference’s best scoring defense, holding opponents to 56.9 points per game.
3. Xavier (15-8, 6-3). Let’s be honest – the Musketeers moved up two spots due to setbacks by Massachusetts and La Salle. But Xavier could take over the top spot with a victory at Temple Saturday.
4. Massachusetts (17-6, 6-3). The Minutemen slip two spots because of a bad loss to Rhode Island. But you have to give Massachusetts credit to erasing memories of that setback with a double-digit victory over George Washington.
5. St. Joseph’s (15-9, 5-4). The Hawks’ victory over La Salle on Saturday proved one of two things. A, the Explorers are overhyped. B, the Hawks are playing better. For now, I’m going with the latter. But that could change after Wednesday’s game against St. Louis.
6. La Salle (17-7, 6-3). After they face Richmond on Wednesday, the Explorers will embark on a defining three-game stretch against St. Louis, UMass and Temple. Like in the case of St. Joe’s, we will learn how good the Explorers are.
7. Duquesne (14-9, 5-4). The Dukes might want to wear their red throwback jerseys, again. Dressed in the 1950 attire, Duquesne snapped a 14-game series skid to Richmond on Saturday. The Dukes will look to win their third consecutive game of the season against St. Bonaventure this upcoming Saturday.
8. St. Bonaventure (12-8, 5-3). The Bonnies dropped two spots after a lopsided loss to St. Louis. St. Bonaventure’s five conference victories came against teams with losing league records.
9. Dayton (14-9, 4-5). The Flyers have to be the biggest disappointment in the A-10. Dayton has lost four straight and five of their last seven conference games.
10. Richmond (12-12, 3-6). What can you say about a team that had a huge victory (over Temple), then proceeded to lose five of six games? The youthful Spiders are showing their inexperience.
11. Charlotte (11-11, 3-6). The 49ers snapped their six-game losing streak against conference opponents against Fordham on Saturday. They’ll look to win back-to-back games for the first time since early January when they face Rhode Island next Saturday.
12. George Washington (8-15, 3-6). The Colonials have lost four straight are also expected to lose their remaining seven contests. This is not the season first-year coach Mike Lonergan envisioned.
13. Rhode Island (5-19, 2-7). The Rams were the talk of the conference after consecutive upset victories over Dayton and UMass. But Rhode Island came back to earth in Saturday’s lopsided setback to Temple.
14. Fordham (9-13, 2-7). The Rams are on pace to finish last in the A-10 for the fourth consecutive season.