Posted on: September 26, 2011 2:17 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 4:27 pm

Report: A-10 tourney headed to Brooklyn

By Jeff Goodman

The A-10 tourney is moving to Brooklyn.

CBSSports.com has confirmed an earlier report from ESPN.com's Andy Katz that the league has decided to move the league tournament to the new Barclays Center beginning in 2013.

This is a smart move because, well, Brooklyn is an upgrade over Atlantic City, N.J. - where the tournament has resided in the past.

The A-10 could also piggyback on some of the fan and media interest from the Big East tournament.

Barclays, which is set to open in September of 2012, is the new arena that will house the NBA's New Jersey Nets.

It's also a building that has come into the public discussion within college basketball circles when it was mentioned as a potential home for the ACC tournament or even the Big East tourney once the league's current deal with Madison Square Garden expires in 2016.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 10:51 am

Tough schedule will test Xavier in 2011-12

Mark Lyons returns to lead Xavier next season.Posted by Eric Angevine

The Xavier Musketeers announced a home slate that should have season-ticket holders salivating for the non-conference season at the Cintas Center come autumn.

"We are excited about this impressive home schedule and I know that our fans will be too," said Xavier head coach Chris Mack in a statement released by the athletic department. "The non-conference home slate is arguably the best we've ever had, including games against 2010 NCAA Tournament teams Georgia, Gonzaga, Cincinnati and Purdue."

It's a measure of Xavier's steady growth as a program that the Musketeers can get power-conference teams to come to Cintas at all. Even a home-and-home is difficult to secure for most mid-major programs. Cincy, of course, alternates yearly with Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout, and Gonzaga is technically a mid-major, too, but technicalities don't much matter in the scheduling game. These are all opportunities to sell out the home arena, generate excitement around the program and build a tourney-worthy profile without having to travel all throughout November and December.

Throw in the fact that the A-10 slate gets more challenging every year, and the Musketeers should be sitting pretty come time for the Big Dance once again.

Reading that list brings to mind one of those questions I ponder from time to time without ever really settling the issue. Seeing Gonzaga and Xavier face off reminds me that the Bulldogs and Musketeers, along with Butler, more or less created the current expectation that mid-majors can become long-term, viable success stories. And yet, as of today, only Butler, under Brad Stevens, has pushed through to the tournament's final weekend from that group. Things get even more confusing when we note that the two CAA teams to have made the Final Four were at-large selections who barely made the field.

Personally, I'm of the belief that achieving consistent success in a tough conference like the growing A-10 or WCC is a pretty meaningful accomplishment. In fact, the auxiliary enhancement of each league's overall profile is a long-term benefit that the Horizon and CAA are just beginning to delve into. Being a league bully, as Gonzaga once was, is nice, but ultimately hollow. Next season, the Bulldogs will have to wade through a slate that features an established foe in St. Mary's, tough competitors like San Francisco and new league member BYU. Xavier must face tourney teams like Temple and Richmond as well as challenging opponents Duquesne and Rhode Island and legendary coaches like Rick Majerus (St. Louis) and Phil Martelli (St. Joe's). Stack that up against a sagging power conference like the Pac-10, and see who has the edge come Selection Sunday in 2012.

Xavier is in a very good place right now. Chris Mack, one of the more dynamic and effective young coaches in the game, has again eluded the clutches of a major college program. Even with Tu Holloway leaving, Mack has talent and experience returning, including last year's second-leading scorer Mark Lyons (right). Mack also brought in a top-100 player in 6-foot-5 recruit Dezmine Wells to keep expectations high and the talent pool fully stocked. The machine is purring like a vintage roadster.

Sure, making the Final Four would be nice. But maybe a program like Xavier has even bigger dreams. Maybe this is the kind of team that can finally break through and win it all some day. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race (this and other comforting cliches will be available all summer long here at Eye on College Basketball).

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: February 17, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 5:39 pm

Spiders and Owls look to break A-10 logjam

Fran Dunphy has had Temple in and out of the Top 25 all season long.

Posted by Eric Angevine

Xavier is once again the class of the A-10 conference. Their league-leading 10-1 mark includes one win apiece over each of the three teams bunched up one game behind them. Temple, Richmond and Duquesne won't get a shot at revenge unless it comes in the A-10 tournament, so the best any of them can do right now is beat each other and hope for the Musketeers to slip up.

Tonight's marquee early matchup is one of those contests that will force a breakup in the logjam at 9-2 in the league standings. The Richmond Spiders travel to Philly to take on the Temple Owls in the Licorice Liacouras Center, with each team hoping to come away with a resume-boosting win.

"It's difficult for teams at our level," Richmond coach Chris Mooney told a writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "because you don't have as many opportunities [for eye-catching wins], from the selection committee's perspective."

The Spiders and Owls have done just about everything possible to get those eye-catching wins. Temple owns wins over Georgia, Maryland and Georgetown from the non-conference season, and will play the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils on February 23. Richmond stacked their schedule with Purdue, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall and Wake Forest, losing only to the Yellowjackets. The Purdue win holds up, but the other three wins have become nearly meaningless through no fault of the schedule-makers. Richmond just happened to choose Power Six opponents who fell flat en masse this season.

Under Fran Dunphy (above), the Owls have become an elite defensive squad. Mooney's Richmond team -- the first in the A-10 to reach 20 wins this season -- revolves around the senior trio of Kevin Anderson, Justin Harper and Dan Geriot. This won't be an easy out for either team.

With that in mind, tonight's game (7:00 p.m. ET, CBS College Sports) will help settle two burning questions: Which of these teams can stay in the hunt with Xavier? and How many teams can the A-10 get into the NCAA tournament?

We'll know more before bedtime tonight.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 6:12 pm

Dayton hopes to turn NIT title mojo into NCAA bid

Posted by Eric Angevine

The Dayton Flyers are 'flying' low, in spite of a hot end to last season that saw the team defeat blue-blood UNC to claim the NIT crown. That's because the Atlantic 10 conference is getting better every year, and it's absolutely loaded this season as well.

The three teams that made the Big Dance last season -- Temple, Xavier and Richmond -- are a combined 30-11 following non-conference play. Each has won games against multiple power-conference teams (Seton Hall, in particular, may want to schedule elsewhere in the future). If Dayton is to get back to the NCAAs this season, head coach Brian Gregory must make full use of the tools at his disposal.

For instance:

Chris Power – Senior Chris Wright (right) is the engine that makes Dayton go. He scores more than 20 percent of the team’s points night in and night out. His athleticism is NBA-worthy, and his leadership has helped the Flyers come back from big deficits to win three times this season. Junior Chris Johnson is just behind Wright in terms of production, and the two complement one another well. Johnson contributes more deep shooting and hits the offensive boards to great effect.

Hometown Hero – Freshman point guard Juwan Staten drew attention from in-state powers like Xavier, Cincinnati and even Ohio State during the recruiting race, but the Dayton native decided to stay put and play for the Flyers. The youngster’s passing chops and decision-making skills are already highly developed: he sports a 2.4 to 1 assist to turnover ratio and has begun to flirt with the points/assists double-double on a nightly basis. Staten’s offense has played second fiddle to his role as distributor thus far, but he uncorked a memorable driving dunk in Dayton’s win over New Mexico that had the local press buzzing.

Continuity - Over the summer, Brian Gregory's name came up frequently when open DI jobs were discussed. Not as often as Brad Stevens of Butler, but probably pretty close. Gregory didn't jump, for whatever reason, and that gives his team a sense of security that he'll stick around and get the job done. The A-10 has improved by leaps and bounds as it becomes a destination for talented coaches instead of a short-term stepping stone. That' doesn't mean Gregory will never leave, but he's obviously not jumping at the first chance he gets, either.

Size - Gregory's team has excellent size. There's legit 6-foot-10 Devin Searcy alongside three other guys 6-8 or above who can spell him in the post. The most promising is sophomore Matt Kavanaugh , a 250-lb load who is gradually learning how to combine his bulk with brains to become a lethal weapon down low.

University of Dayton Arena - It's one of college basketball's oldest and most cherished arenas. It's a great place to play home games. It serves as carrot in that sense, but it should also be used as a stick to motivate the team to achieve. The Flyers do not want to play there in March, because that's where the First Four of the new 68-team format will play. Dayton has seen the good and bad side of the bubble, and they want to put themselves squarely in the 'lock' category as soon as possible. Aside from the scheduled league game with St. Louis on 3/2, No Home Games in March should be the rallying cry for this team.

Dayton has a marvelous opportunity to build a tourney-worthy resume within their own conference. The A-10 is easily a four-bid-worthy conference in the age of 68 teams. Dayton has what it takes to be one of those teams.

For more on Dayton, check out this video of  Pete Gillen's interview with Brian Gregory following the Flyers' A-10 opener.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com