Sports Illustrated’s 2017–18 preview is guided by data from our College Basketball Projection System, a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI’s Chris Johnson and Jeremy Fuchs. We project teams on a player-by-player, lineup-based level and then simulate the season 10,000 times to generate our 1–351 national rankings and conference forecasts.
These are the model’s projections for the Atlantic-10, including individual awards, the teams’ order of finish and (advanced and raw) stats for the top seven players in each school’s rotation.
The Big Picture
The A-10 has an embarrassment of riches in terms of individual talent. SI projects the top two scorers in the nation—Peyton Aldridge (Davidson) and Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)—to hail from the conference. B.J. Johnson from La Salle is in the top 10. Adams and Matt Mobley are the only teammates in the top 20. In all, there are 10 Atlantic-10 players in the top 100. Kellan Grady of Davidson is a top-30 freshman and VCU’s Issac Vann is a top-15 transfer. Want offense? There’s plenty of it here.
Player of the Year: Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
SI projects Aldridge as the nation’s leading scorer at 22.1 points per game, a year after he scored 20.5. The 6' 8" senior shot 40.9% from three last year, averaged 8.2 rebounds, and will be the Wildcats’ top threat now that Jack Gibbs is gone. La Salle coach John Giannini called him the “Larry Bird of the A-10.” The rest of the nation will find that out this year.
Newcomer of the Year: Kostas Antetokounmpo, Dayton
Yes, he’s from that Antetokounmpo family. Kostas, a 6' 10" forward, redshirted last year after helping his high school team win a state title, averaging 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. He’s coming off a bone bruise in his knee but should be ready for the season. He probably won’t be as good as older brother Giannis—not many are—but the opportunity is there for him to turn in an impressive debut season.
All-Conference Team & Sixth Man
PG: Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure
SG: Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure
SG: E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island
F: B.J. Johnson, La Salle
PF: Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
Sixth Man: Justin Tillman, VCU
The Skinny on Each Team
1. Rhode Island (14–4)
Rhode Island just missed out on making the Sweet 16, and finished the year ranked as KenPom's 34th-best team. Losing Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson will be tough, but E.C. Matthews should take on a bigger role and Jared Terrell will provide secondary scoring. We'll be interested to see how sophomore forward Cyril Langevine does, after averaging 4.5 rebounds and almost a block a game in just 13.2 minutes last season.
2. VCU (12-6)
Mike Rhoades is the new coach in Richmond, and he has some talent to work with. Justin Tillman is a top power forward, and three-point threat Issac Vann is eligible to play after transferring from Maine. They're stacked up front, but after Jonathan Williams at the point, there's a lack of depth in the backcourt. Watch for Khris Lane, a 6' 6" grad transfer from Longwood who averaged 17.1 points last year.
3. St. Bonaventure (11-7)
This could be an offensive juggernaut: We project St. Bonaventure as the top offense in the conference, and one of the better ones in the nation. The dynamic duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley will be fun to watch. Adams could easily win A-10 Player of the Year; he's already been named first-team all-conference twice, and he was seventh in the nation in assists last year. Mobley can do a bit of everything, and led Division I in minutes per game (38.3).
4. St. Joseph's (11–7)
They have a solid backcourt in Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble and good frontcourt players in James Demery and Charlie Brown. The Hawks’ problem is the sharp dropoff after those four. But they should be much better than last year. Brown, already a top-notch shooter, could be in for a big improvement in his sophomore year.
5. Dayton (11-7)
Things are different in Dayton. Archie Miller is at Indiana, and the Scoochie Smith era is over. It won't be terrible—Xeyrius Williams and Josh Cunningham are good up front, and the arrival of Antetokounmpo should make for appointment viewing. We're just not sure about the backcourt, especially after the Flyers were spoiled by Smith for so long.
6. Davidson (11-7)
Peyton Aldridge will turn heads all season long, and Kellan Grady projects to be a high-quality freshman. But it's a matter of supporting cast members. Can Grady score enough to adequately replace Jack Gibbs and his 22.1 points per game? And can Jon Axel Gudmundsson build off his impressive freshman campaign?
7. La Salle (10-8)
The Explorers have a top inside-out combo in B.J. Johnson and Pookie Powell. But there's a huge dropoff to the rest of the rotation, especially up front, where rebounding could be a problem. The development of four-star freshman guard Jamir Moultrie, who didn’t play as a senior in high school, will be key.
8. Saint Louis (10-8)
The Billikens have a bunch of interesting pieces in transfers Adonys Henriquez (UCF) and D.J. Foreman (Rutgers), joining senior guard Davell Roby. Freshman Jordan Goodwin comes highly regarded, although he is coming off a torn labrum in his shoulder. If healthy, he could be a difference-maker. Coach Travis Ford compared him to Marcus Smart.
9. Richmond (8-10)
Both Khwan Fore and De'Monte Buckingham are good out of the backcourt, but the Spiders have a dearth of frontcourt options with T.J. Cline gone. Their best option, Solly Stansbury, is a junior who hasn't played in college, and grad transfer Jordan Madrid-Andrews hasn't played since 2016 due to injuries from a car accident. Teams will pound them on the glass.
10. George Mason (6-12)
Otis Livingston II is an all-conference-type player and one of the better scorers in the nation, and Jaire Grayer is another solid option out of the backcourt. But the frontcourt will have to rely on freshmen A.J. Wilson and Goanar Mar. Wilson, a redshirt, is more of a swingman, although he showed a proclivity for blocks in high school. Mar was highly accomplished as a prep, winning four straight state titles, but will need to bulk up if he's going to get by as a rim protector.
11. George Washington (6-12)
There's going to be a lot of pressure on Yuta Watanabe, a 6' 9" senior forward who is this team’s only projected double-digit scorer. It's a young team that might be two years away. Look out for Arnaldo Toro, a sophomore with an all-around game.
12. Massachusetts (6-12)
Luwane Pipkins is an all-conference candidate, but after him and Rashaan Holloway the Minutemen are short on impact players. They'll have to integrate freshmen guards Unique McLean and Carl Pierre, whose only offer was UMass, and they have four transfers sitting out this year.
13. Fordham (6-12)
Prokop Slanina is one of the the few true centers in the conference. The 6' 10" Czech import showed defensive promise before missing most of the season with injury. Junior college transfer Tre Evans, a former Oklahoma State commit, can really shoot.
14. Duquesne (4-14)
Mike Lewis is one of the most exciting players in the conference. He returns to Pittsburgh despite some offseason transfer rumors, and he could put up some big numbers. But two forwards did transfer and another graduated, leaving only one on the roster (Jordan Robinson) with experience. New coach Keith Dambrot has his work cut out for him.