10,000 sims: Atlantic 10

The Atlantic 10 is going to be wild and crazy this season. The 16-team league is playing 16 conference games and schedules can be wildly unbalanced. It could have a big impact on the standings too. Saint Joseph’s might be the third best team in the A-10 according to the preseason projections, but you’ll see that the Hawks’ schedule could actually make them the favorite this season. If you’re looking for something crazy, guessing that a tie will happen at the top of the A-10 standings by season’s end is a pretty good one. In both simulations almost 30% of the seasons ended with at least two teams tied for first place. (In one there was an eight-team tie!)

Here’s how Ken Pomeroy sees things. Once again, the percentages here are the chances of the team winning the title with ties and thus add to more than 100%. (Way more than 100% in this case.)

  1. St. Louis – 41.2%
  2. VCU – 35.2%
  3. Saint Joseph’s – 22.4%
  4. Massachusetts – 12.9%
  5. Temple – 9.4%
  6. La Salle – 6.0%
  7. Richmond – 5.5%
  8. Butler – 4.1%
  9. St. Bonaventure – 2.5%
  10. Dayton – 1.1%
  11. Xavier – 0.5%
  12. Charlotte – 0.2%
  13. Duquesne – 0.05%
  14. George Washington – 0.02%
  15. Fordham – null
  16. Rhode Island – null

The percentages here match up pretty well with Pomeroy’s rankings, except for the middle. There Temple and La Salle are rated higher than you’d expect from their overall ratings. It appears the Owls got a decent parting gift from the conference. The schedule is set up favorably for Temple to continue to be competitive this season, even if it isn’t a great team. It also appears that Dan Hurley has quite the rebuilding job ahead of him. The Rams went winless 2% of the time. Fordham also went winless almost 1% of the time. According to Pomeroy, the Charlotte, Duquesne, George Washington trio appears to be just a bit (~2 wins) ahead.

Unlike the majority of this series, the simulations using Hanner’s ratings came out very similar. Here are the same percentages based on 10,000 sims using his projected offensive and defensive efficiencies.

  1. Saint Joseph’s – 34.5%
  2. St. Louis – 32.0%
  3. Temple – 29.5%
  4. Butler – 23.0%
  5. VCU – 17.4%
  6. Massachusetts – 4.6%
  7. Richmond – 0.8%
  8. Dayton – 0.8%
  9. Xavier – 0.6%
  10. St. Bonaventure – 0.5%
  11. La Salle – 0.5%
  12. George Washington – null
  13. Duquesne – null
  14. Fordham – null
  15. Charlotte – null
  16. Rhode Island – null

The difference between the top five teams here is microscopic. That’s why schedules play such a big role and are the reason that Saint Joseph’s rises to the top. Compared to Pomeroy there’s also a bunch of changes in the middle of the pack. Here’s there’s even more parity. Once again more than 2% of the total sims ended up in a tie between more than three teams. Interestingly, someone went undefeated in 187 sims (1.9%) and someone went winless 642 times (6.4%). The teams that went winless most often were Rhode Island (262 times) and Charlotte (220 times). While all four of the top teams are projected to win around 12 games, Butler is about a half-win behind the pack. It’s also worth noting that St. Bonaventure, La Salle and Xavier all finished with about 8 wins per season.

There isn’t too much difference between those two projections, so it’s tough to pick one I agree with more. What we do know is that schedules are going to be very important during a wide-open Atlantic 10 season and this is a league you’re definitely going to want to watch as much as possible.

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