What Mid-Major? Undefeated A-10 Sends 5 Teams to Round of 32
The Atlantic-10 Conference went 6-0 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament and has five teams in the Round of 32 for the first time in the conference's history.
There are many different styles of play in the tough A-10 Conference. La Salle features a bevy of guards that spread the floor around. Saint Louis is disciplined with their schemes. VCU uses its "havoc" all-out pressure. Butler also uses its motion offense to precision when they are clicking. Temple is tough, having outmuscled and outplayed Syracuse in December when they defeated the Orange. All the A-10 teams are forced to defend and adjust to these different styles of play from game to game, and it prepares them for unfamiliar schemes and looks teams inevitably run into in the tournament.
No. 4 Saint Louis, the A-10's regular season and tournament champions, took care of business against New Mexico State. They are a sleeper pick to potentially make the Final Four. They beat a VCU team that looked dominant on Thursday twice. They play Oregon on Saturday in what should be a spectacular game.
No. 13 La Salle, which had defeated a scrappy Boise State team on Wednesday, went into Kansas City, Missouri and defeated No. 4 Kansas State. They face No. 12 Ole Miss on Sunday, and La Salle can well make it to the Sweet 16.
VCU was just simply dominant on Thursday, demolishing Akron and running the Zips almost literally out of the gym. They face Michigan on Saturday.
Butler held off a pesky Bucknell team that was one of the most popular upset picks. The Bulldogs play Marquette on Saturday. Butler, though, will be in the Big East next year along with Xavier, which did not make the tournament.
Temple led throughout the game in defeating NC State by four points, but the game was not as close as the final score. The Owls will play Indiana on Sunday.