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8/29/2022 11:16 am  #1

I'd Like To See The A10 Do This

Am finishing up John Feinstein's book about lower and mid-major level college basketball.  It's  a few years old but holds up just fine.  Included are some references to Lonergan-Nero, MoJo and Jamion which I'll spare you all since that's not the point of this post.

When the NET system was first established, I believe it was Conference USA that tried something different.  Concerned that it would be a one bid league, they divided the conference into thirds and left the last 4 games of the conference schedule as open dates.  Then the top teams would play one another, two home and two away, as would the middle and lower levels.  The point was to get the top teams duking it out with the hope of getting a second team into the Dance.  As they figured, having the chance to beat a school with a high NEt ranking would be worth more than definitely beating a lowly ranked team.

While this ended up not working for Conference USA because two dominat choices did not emerge as a result (and the schools were simply not deemed to be strong enough), this sounds like a great idea for the A10, a conference who might send anywhere from 2 to 4 or 5 schools in a given year.  These days, the number is much closer to two or three than it is four or five, so this really could give the conference a shot in the arm.  1-5 play each other as do 6-10 and 11-15 to end the season, two at home, two on the road.  Prior to this, every school has played 14 games, one against every other team in the conference.  

The only downside I see to this is that to the extent there are real rivalries within the conference, you may only end up with one VCU-Richmond game in a season rather than the two that essentially takes place every year.  Actually, a second concern, I suppose, is that perhaps the top teams will not want to battle four other top opponents immediately prior to the conference tournament (which is likely to be more of a coaches gripe than anything else).  But, the upside is that you may end up with an extra team or two being invited to the Dance, and once the coaches realize this, I'd think they would be on board as well.


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