If you've been following us recently, perhaps the single most interesting thing you've discovered is that nothing much interesting happens in the middle of May in college basketball. Sure, there's plenty of transfer and recruiting speculation, but that only dominates the headlines because not much else is going on. Normally rational members of the basketball media are reduced to discussing single-striker formations of English soccer teams whose rosters still come up a striker short of that requirement.
What a relief it was, then, that Jeff Borzello spent most of his day on Twitter discussing the Atlantic Ten. He kicked it off with this inspiring teaser last night:
I enjoyed the ACC discussion last night...might have to get into some Atlantic 10 stuff today.
Thrilling stuff. Let's get to it.
He had this to say about the potential of perennial front-runner (and soon to be departing) Temple:
Interested to see how Scootie Randall does next season for Temple. Was filling it up a couple seasons ago before getting hurt & redshirting.
Randall was getting 10.7 per game on .495/.369/.667 shooting during his last healthy year. UMass grabbed two lines worth of love from Borzello's 140-character barrage with:
UMass should be pretty good next year. Tons of perimeter firepower, led by Chaz Williams. Sampson Carter/Cady Lalanne need to stay healthy.
VCU vs. UMass should be one of the must-watch games of the A-10 season. Expect up-tempo play, lots of 3-pointers, good perimeter battles.
How about Saint Joseph's, Jeff?
Saint Joseph's should be very good too. Everyone is back from a team that was in the NCAA hunt until late. Bigs need to rebound consistently.
I guess a competitive Hawks squad is a good thing for that Atlantic Ten. Borzello also had this to say about the least Atlantic team in the league:
Might be the favorite, with Mitchell back. However, Conklin is a big loss. Someone has to step up down low. RT
@TBrown_80: What about SLU?
That kind of makes it seem like the A-10 could be a top-heavy league next season, or at least one with several teams in the mix for the crown. Borzello seems to agree with that idea.
I think you can make a case for several different teams as preseason No. 1 in the A-10. Not sure which one to go with yet.
Think VCU is in the mix too. Xavier still has players. RT
@jmverlin: At this point I would say 1) Saint Joseph's 2) UMass 3) Saint Louis
Nice to see a hat tip to the X Men there in passing. It's worth noting that Xavier has been written off as "rebuilding" more than once in recent history, but the Muskies continue to show up in the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. Jeff's not done noting the interesting teams in the league, though, also mentioning La Salle and the less-than-loved Dayton Flyers as contenders.
I like them. Return good guards, plus Va Tech transfer Tyrone Garland. Wright down low. Pettis is a big loss. RT
@NUHF: How good is LaSalle?
I think Dayton is solid as well. Really deep frontcourt, Dillard in the backcourt. Transfers Vee Sanford, Matt Derenbecker will make impact.
George Washington and Richmond have seen varying amounts of recent success, but Borzello pointed to both of them as teams to keep an eye on in the league.
George Washington has some quality newcomers, plus David Pellom is back. Frosh Joe McDonald, Kethan Savage, Nova transfer Isaiah Armwood.
Richmond intrigues me. If Nelson-Ododa or Piotrowski contribute consistently down low next to Williams, they've got a good core of weapons.
The bottom line is, though, that you come here to read people's opinions about Xavier. Borzello had a couple of more things to say about X, and I'm afraid it wasn't all encouraging.
I think it's crazy that one or both of Xavier and Temple could be outside of the A-10's top five in the preseason. But that's how it looks.
Christon is a stud, Reynolds will play. Isaiah Philmore will make an impact. RT
@Charlie_ABrink: What do you expect from XU's young talent?
Didn't forget him. Only had 140 characters. Christon and Philmore will have bigger impact. RT
@platio2011: u forgot shooter Myles Davis.
Well, Xavier and Temple are on the way down, but they're not falling off a cliff or anything. No easy nights next year.
That's all just one man's opinion, obviously, but I wouldn't quote Borzello on here if I didn't think he knew what he was talking about to some extent. The regular cavaets regarding predictions about the college basketball season that are made in May all apply, but, aside from Dez Wells, Xavier comes into the season with very few players who don't have meaningful question marks regarding their ability to contribute right away. A lot is going to hinge on the slew of talented newcomers for the Musketeers.
Also, if you don't already, follow Borzello on Twitter. He puts a lot of good stuff out there and he's not shy about engaging people online - even those who don't agree with him. He can be found at @jeffborzello, which is pretty intuitive.