It will be interesting to see how the Charlotte 49ers come out Saturday in their regular-season finale at 7 p.m. in Halton Arena against Saint Josephs.
If the 49ers (19-10, 7-8) already know by then that theyre in next weeks Atlantic 10 tournament which means George Washington would have lost to Dayton earlier in the day will they play with the same kind of intensity they displayed in a second-half comeback Wednesday against Duquesne?
If the 49ers need to beat the Hawks (17-11, 8-7) to get to Brooklyn, N.Y., next week which means George Washington beat Dayton and is one of three other teams that hold a tiebreaker against Charlotte will the 49ers show the kind of maturity and resolve necessary to prevail in a must-win game?
Charlotte had lost six of seven before beating Duquesne 89-87 in overtime on Wednesday. And until the 49ers dug themselves out of that 17-point hole, all the problems that had plagued them throughout the month of February were on full display: shaky defense, shoddy ball handling and an underwhelming performance by center Chris Braswell.
Then things changed. Led by Braswells season-high 28 (24 in the second half), the 49ers suddenly looked again like the team that won 17 of its first 22 games.
So, which team shows up today?
The 49ers will honor four seniors playing in their final game at Halton Arena on Saturday:
Chris Braswell: Its been a bittersweet season for Braswell, but he will end his career at Charlotte in the programs top 15 in scoring and might become fifth all-time in rebounding (hes 13 behind Norris Day).
Colby Lewis: A former walk-on, Lewis earned a scholarship this season. As a sophomore, he actually played a key role on a team that was extremely depth-shy, playing in 17 games and scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds against Gardner-Webb.
Ilija Ivankovic: A 6-foot-10 center from Croatia who was a junior-college transfer, Ivankovic got some playing time toward the end of last season, averaging 6.8 minutes over the last five games. Hes not done much this season.
Lamar Bradbury: A walk-on transfer from Appalachian State who played at Providence High, Bradbury has made the only shot of his 49ers career: a 3-pointer last season against Temple.
Around the A-10
• Theres still some shuffling going at the top of the standings, where the first four teams will receive a tournament bye. Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth are tied for first at 12-3 (Saint Louis with the tiebreaker) with La Salle in third at 11-4 and Temple and Butler are both at 10-5. Xavier (9-6) could slip in, too. The Musketeers and Butler play Saturday.
• My Atlantic 10 superlatives: All-conference: G Khalif Wyatt (Temple), G Darius Theus (VCU), G Rotnei Clark (Butler), F Dwayne Evans (Saint Louis), F Travis Taylor (Xavier). Player of the year: Evans. Rookie of the year: Samaj Christon (Xavier). Defensive player of the year: Pierria Henry, Charlotte. Coach of the year: Jim Crews, Saint Louis.