College Basketball

Atlantic 10 Conference

Davidson guard Jack Gibbs, 12, led the Atlantic 10 Conference in assists and free-throw percentage last season. Gibbs is one of four starters returning from last season’s team, which finished 24-8.
Davidson guard Jack Gibbs, 12, led the Atlantic 10 Conference in assists and free-throw percentage last season. Gibbs is one of four starters returning from last season’s team, which finished 24-8. TIM COWIE - DavidsonPhotos.com

Men’s basketball teams and players to watch this season in the Atlantic 10:

FAVORITE

Dayton: Flyers return three starters from 27-9 team that lost to Virginia Commonwealth in the A-10 tournament final, advanced to third round of NCAA tournament.

CONTENDERS

Rhode Island: Rams return two starters – both second-team All-Atlantic 10 last season – from 23-10 team that finished tied for second in league standings, played in National Invitation Tournament.

Davidson: No more surprises from coach Bob McKillop’s Wildcats after last season’s No. 12 pick won regular-season title, earned NCAA tournament at-large berth.

George Washington: Colonials return three starters, two-thirds of their scoring from last season’s 22-13 team that advanced to second round of NIT.

FIVE TO WATCH

G Jack Gibbs, Davidson: Wildcats’ lone preseason first-team A-10 pick led league in assists (4.8 per game) and free-throw percentage (85.6 percent) last season.

G E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island: One of Hawks’ two preseason first-team A-10 picks, was finalist for Jerry West Award as nation’s top collegiate shooting guard.

F Hassan Martin, Rhode Island: Preseason first-team A-10 pick led league in field-goal percentage (59.8 percent), blocked shots (3.1 per game) last season.

F DeAndre Bembry, Saint Joseph’s: Charlotte native was preseason first-team all-conference pick after leading league in scoring (17.7 per game) last season.

G Jordan Price, La Salle: Preseason first-team all-conference pick was second in league in scoring (17.2 per game) and fifth in free-throw percentage (79.9 percent) last season.

WORTH MENTIONING

▪ Six teams from the A-10 played in the postseason last season – Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton and Davidson all made it to the NCAA tournament; Richmond, Rhode Island and George Washington to the NIT.

▪ McKillop and Dayton’s Archie Miller were among the 16 finalists for the 2015 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award, won by West Virginia’s Bob Huggins.

▪ Davidson finished in the top 10 nationally in eight statistics, more than any team in the A-10: assist-turnover ratio (first), 3-pointers made per game (second), total 3-pointers made, 3-pointers attempted per game, assists per game and fewest turnovers (third); fewest turnovers per game (sixth) and scoring per game (seventh).

NEXT: Big South

Bill Kiser

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