Skip to content

Divergent paths for A-10, Mountain West in NCAA tournament

Mar 23, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Ramon Galloway AP

The Atlantic 10 and the Mountain West came into the 2013 NCAA tournament as the two toughest mid-major conferences in the country, but their showings so far have been far from similar. Through the First Four and Round of 64, the A-10 is a perfect 6-0, while the Mountain West is 2-3.

That 6-0 record for the A-10 is thanks to two wins by La Salle (vs. Boise State, vs. Kansas State), and one each from VCU (vs. Akron), Temple (vs. NC State), Butler (vs. Bucknell), and Saint Louis  (vs. New Mexico State). Meanwhile, the Mountain West has fallen victim to Harvard (New Mexico), UNLV (California), and La Salle (Boise State), with wins by Colorado State (vs. Missouri) and San Diego State (vs. Oklahoma).

But how does a team with a No. 1 RPI ranking have such a tumultuous first two rounds? Much of it comes down to matchups.

Aside from Saint Louis, which was heavily favored to begin with against New Mexico State, the A-10 benefitted from the matchups they drew in their first and second round games. That doesn’t mean teams didn’t gameplan to their strengths or execute or weren’t the better team all together, but it’s worth noting that there were factors to exploit and these teams, to their credit, took advantage.

For example, La Salle’s tough four-guard set was too difficult for Boise State to contain off the dribble and was the reason the Explorers had an 18-point halftime against Kansas State. Khalif Wyatt’s poise and maturity for Temple contrasted with a young and inexperienced NC State backcourt. Butler’s Andrew Smith was physical in containing Bucknell’s best player, Mike Muscala. VCU’s turnover-inducing defense was too much for an Akron team that was without its starting point guard.

By contrast, Harvard’s slow pace caught New Mexico on a 38 percent shooting night. California’s size on the inside was able to counter UNLV’s usual depth advantage in the paint. Boise State couldn’t keep up with the dribble penetration of La Salle’s guards.

And that’s how this NCAA has been playing out and will continue to play out. Colorado State could advance if it continues to rebound the basketball well against Louisville. San Diego State is bound for the Sweet 16 if it can match the intensity of Florida Gulf Coast in transition. Having parity in a tournament creates a need for another factor to decide these games. That factor this year is, simply put, matchups and execution.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Latest Posts
  1. United States U19 team rolls past Argentina at FIBA World Championships

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Getty Images

    Next up for the United States is Italy, and they could run into hosts Greece in the semifinals.

  2. San Diego State signee requests release from National Letter of Intent

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Steve Fisher AP

    Jones recently received his qualifying score on the SAT, only to inform SDSU that he wanted to be released from his NLI.

  3. Former Illinois women’s basketball players file lawsuit against athletic director, head coach and former assistant

    Jul 1, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    Matt Bollant (AP Photo) AP

    AD Mike Thomas stated in May that there would be an investigation into the allegations.

  4. Re-ranking the recruiting classes: Who are the 25 best players from the Class of 2006?

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:03 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    KD, Stephen and Russ lead the way, and two of those three weren’t even ranked coming out of high school.

  5. Three-star 2015 forward Roman Davis commits to California

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Cuonzo Martin AP

    Cal already has two members of its 2015 class on campus, and they added another to the mix Wednesday.

  6. Is a seven-foot Greek center considering playing college ball in the US?

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:54 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    He’s currently teammates with a soon-to-be Oregon Duck. Hmm …

  7. Cincinnati lands two commitments on Wednesday

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:53 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    That makes three commitments in 24 hours for Cincinnati.

  8. Penn State lands commitment from UConn transfer

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Terrence Samuel was recruited over at UConn.

  9. Star Kansas freshman Carlton Bragg injured on trip to South Korea

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT

    Kelly Kline, Getty Images Kelly Kline, Getty Images

    Kansas is in South Korea repping the USA in the World University Games.

  10. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino comments on Jarvis Johnson situation

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino gave his take on the situation surrounding Jarvis Johnson.

  11. Missouri still without sophomore guard who is nursing injury

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Missouri is missing sophomore forward Montaque Gill-Caesar from summer workouts.

  12. Mixtapes of Virginia Class of 2016 commits Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    2015 adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis

    Virginia has some talented backcourt pieces committed in the 2016 class.

  13. Bill Self impresses South Korean students with jumper (VIDEO)

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    150527_billSelf Getty Images

    Kansas head coach Bill Self had the jumper going before practice in South Korea.

  14. Cincinnati gets commitment from three-star big man in Class of 2016

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Mick Cronin AP

    Cincinnati landed a big man target right before the July live period.

  15. Texas lands commitment from in-state Class of 2016 three-star guard

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shaka Smart landed the brother of a recent NBA draft pick.

  16. 5-foot-9 Kentucky PG Tyler Ulis, dunking in slo-mo (VIDEO)

    Jun 30, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    Tyler Ulis (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Should I mention he throws the ball off the backboard to himself?

  17. Four-star Class of 2016 point guard commits to Butler

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    One of the best passers in the Class of 2016, Howard Washington, committed to Butler on Tuesday.

  18. Rick Barnes finally addresses accusations against Texas

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    barnes Getty Images

    Rick Barnes spoke publicly for the first time about accusations levied against Texas.

  19. South Carolina guards working back from surgery

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:48 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Sindarius Thornwell and TeMarcus Blanton both underwent surgery this offseason.