Friday, March 4, 2011

Richmond to face Charlotte in A-10 tourney

Brittani Shells
Richmond's Atlantic-10 Tournament draw is set - the No. 4 Spiders will open against No. 5 Charlotte in the quarterfinals Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass. The Spiders had a bye in the opening round; the 49ers advanced with a 77-66 victory over No. 12 UMass.

Although the Spiders are the higher seed, the teams finished with the same conference record (9-5) and Charlotte prevailed 73-62 at the Robins Center in the teams' lone regular-season meeting. The Spiders also lost their only game against No. 6 Charlotte, so we were initially puzzled when the Spiders came out of the five-way tie for third place seeded ahead of both.

So we consulted an expert.

"The best way to get to the bottom of the 5 way tie breaker is to have Watson (the computer who won Jeopardy) figure this mess out!" Richmond coach Michael Shafer said in an e-mail earlier this week. 

After pulling our leg (we think), Shafer explained that the five tied teams were separated by comparing their records in games against each other. Duquesne, which went 3-2 against other tied teams, drew the No. 3 seed while St. Bonaventure (2-3) was relegated to No. 7. The other three teams all had 2-2 records, so that 3-way tie was resolved by looking at who had a win over the highest-placed team in the league. Nobody beat No. 1 Xavier or No. 2 Temple, but Richmond's win over No. 3 Duquesne elevated the Spiders over Charlotte and Dayton, both of whom had lost to the Dukes. 

Frankly, we liked Shafer's first answer better. But at least we now understand. 

As for Saturday's game, Shafer believes the holding their own on the boards is a high priority if the Spiders are to advance.

"We are going to need to make sure that we rebound the basketball," the coach said. "That has been our nemesis in our losses. In order to rebound the ball, we are going to have to keep people out of the paint and not force so much help that it pulls our rebounders out of position. When we have kept the ball out of the paint, we have rebounded it pretty well, which leads to transition opportunities which is where we are at our best. I would also like to see us get a few more deflections and steals so that we can get easy baskets. In tournament play, easy buckets are tough to come by, so we would like to try and get as many as we can to either separate ourselves or make a run. Our freshmen are also going to have to produce for us. They have been playing well of late, but they have not been in a tournament like this before."

The Spiders will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game, but Richmond didn't exactly cruise to the finish. Shafer said each of the three victories was marked by a 4-6 minute lull that forced the Spiders to scramble to pull the games out. This could be a key today, for it was just such a lull that cost Richmond    against Charlotte during the regular season - and 11-0 49ers late second-half run that wiped out a 3-point Spiders lead.              
But thanks to securing that tiebreaker edge, the Spiders had the day off Friday while the 49ers had to go to work. So fatigue should not be an Richmond issue.

Getting a bye in the first round and having to only play three games instead of four is critical when trying to win the tournament," Shafer said. "Especially when you have as little depth as we do at the moment.... I'm proud of our ladies for finding a way to win in late February."

Atlantic 10 Tournament
Friday's results
No. 8 St. Joseph's 77, No. 9 LaSalle 55
No. 5 Charlotte 77, No. 12 UMass 66
No. 7 St. Bonaventure 48, No. 10 Fordham 41
No. 6 Dayton 61, No. 11 George Washington 58

Saturday's games (quarterfinals)
No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 8 St. Joseph's, noon
No. 4 Richmond vs. No. 5 Charlotte, 2:30 p.m.
No. 2 Temple vs. No. 7 St. Bonaventure, 5 p.m.
No. 3 Duquesne vs. No. 6 Dayton, 7:30 p.m.

No comments:

Post a Comment