Monday, March 10, 2003

A-10: Musketeers may get third date with UD


XU would face Flyers in finals of A-10 tourney

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A preview of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. First-round games are held on campus sites today. Quarterfinals are Thursday at University of Dayton Arena. The semifinals are Friday; the finals are Saturday.

TEAM TO BEAT

Xavier. The Musketeers (24-4) are one of the hottest teams in the country and won the A-10 regular-season title for the second consecutive season. Lately, Xavier has pulled out close games, even coming from behind in the late going, a necessary ingredient for tournament success. The starting five is very solid, and depth is a concern only if star players David West, Romain Sato or point guard Dedrick Finn get into foul trouble.

DARK HORSE

Temple. The Owls (13-14) were a disaster before the A-10 season began, but good health and a four-guard lineup have turned the team around. The Owls' late-season surge earned them the second seed in the East. This is the team that nobody wants to play because the Owls are a difficult matchup, particularly their oversized perimeter players.

MOST TO PROVE

Saint Joseph's. Even as the East champion, not much is expected from the Hawks (22-5) because the power was in the West this season with Xavier and Dayton. Saint Joseph's is still an NCAA Tournament team, but its eventual seed is in doubt. Advancing to at least the championship game of the A-10 Tournament could mean the difference between a 10 seed and a 7 seed.

TOUGHEST DRAW

Richmond. That's what the Spiders (15-12) get for receiving a bye into the quarterfinal round after St. Bonaventure was barred from the tournament. Now Richmond must play Temple on Wednesday, and if the Spiders can get past that, a likely matchup with Xavier awaits in the semifinal round. Then it's most likely Saint Joseph's or Dayton in the finals. Good luck.

WEAKEST DRAW

Dayton. Playing at UD Arena will make all the difference for the Flyers (21-5) who are next to unbeatable at home, although Xavier beat them. The Flyers' first test will come in the semifinals, probably against Saint Joseph's, which Dayton defeated by 10 points earlier at UD. A partisan (that's putting it very mildly) crowd in the finals could lift the Flyers to the title.

MOST LIKELY MVP

David West, Xavier. No reason West won't win regular- and postseason MVP honors. No A-10 team has shown it can stop him.

PLAYER ON THE SPOT

Delonte West, Saint Joseph's. How much will stress fractures affect the Hawks' leading scorer, if at all. A healthy West can relieve plenty of pressure on Jameer Nelson, who won't have to do it all by himself.




BENGALS / NFL
James should give Bengals' 'D' a jolt
LeBeau joins Bills as assistant coach

REDS / BASEBALL
This change money in bank
Phillies 3, Reds 2
Kearns to have elbow surgery
Sullivan, Wilson healthy again
Selig isn't in a rush to issue Rose ruling
Reds spring training statistics
Weaver solidifying fifth spot for Yankees
Dessens off to strong start in Arizona

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UC falls to TCU in thriller
Bearcats looking to add victories
Muskies won't sit on their laurels
Smith hearing cheers as Wildcats perfect in SEC
Top 25: Shorthanded 'Nova nearly pulls upset

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
A-10: Musketeers may get third date with UD
C-USA: Marquette going for double
SEC: Kentucky is the team to beat
MAC: RedHawks have toughest road
Big 10: Wisconsin gets top seed for second straight year
Div. II: NKU's women open against Lakers

PREP SPORTS
Hamilton hopes for more magic
Regional opener matches powers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Q&A: Wright hopes to crack Hurricane lineup

GOLF
Hoch leaves Doral in the dark

HOCKEY
Ducks fall in overtime

PLAN YOUR DAY
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