Friday, December 2, 2016

Ready or not, here comes Atlantic 10 play

Ready or not, here comes Atlantic 10 conference play.

Changing the league's tournament format necessitated each A-10 team to play one conference game in December, so instead of its typical early-January start, A-10 play for 2016-17 began Thursday (Dec. 1) when host Fordham knocked off Duquesne.

The Atlantic 10 and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference are the only two Division I leagues to have already kicked off conference play; the MAAC debuted with two games Thursday.

Conference openers for the various A-10 teams are scattered throughout December, so as they say in the broadcast business, check your local listings for the team in your area. As for the squads within the LadySwish coverage map, VCU begins its Atlantic 10 slate Friday at 7 p.m. at George Washington. On Sunday, George Mason plays its A-10 opener at UMass. And Richmond won't start league play until Dec. 31 when the Spiders host St. Joseph's.

Several Atlantic 10 teams have gotten off to solid starts - 10 of the 14 were at .500 or better through November. Yet with the possible exception of George Washington, league teams have struggled to post signature wins. A-10 teams were 0-5 against the Associated Press Top 25 and just 1-13 versus Power 5 conference schools in the opening month.

The Colonials (5-2) just missed against then-No. 11 Syracuse, falling 74-71. But the Colonials do have wins over Princeton and Florida Gulf Coast - both NCAA Tournament teams a year ago - and Conference USA power Western Kentucky.

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