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Why Richmond Basketball Will Win the A10 Tournament

With the Atlantic 10 Conference announcing that the men’s and women’s tournaments would swap dates, this is officially the final week of regular-season play. In a nod to the widespread parity and unpredictability of the conference, 10 teams still have a mathematical chance to claim one of four double-byes into the A10 Tournament quarterfinals. The Richmond basketball team is among that bunch. The Spiders currently have +400 betting odds to win the A10 Tournament. 

Blake Francis Richmond Basketball A10 Tournament
Credit: G Fiume/Getty Images

Richmond Basketball Season Recap

Nonconference Play

Richmond basketball was one of the mid-major darlings of the non-conference portion of the schedule. The Spiders picked up a trio of noteworthy wins over Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Loyola (Chicago). Even their win over Southern Conference powerhouse Wofford has to carry some weight when comparing NCAA Tournament resumes. Richmond battled Big 12 foe, West Virginia, hard, but was ultimately outclassed by the Mountaineers in a 16-point defeat. 

A10 Conference Play

After being among the healthiest and most active Atlantic 10 basketball teams in the non-conference season, virus issues caught up with Richmond basketball during conference play. The Spiders enter the final week of the regular season having played only eight A10 conference games. Richmond has won five of those, including notable wins over Davidson, Rhode Island and George Mason. Two of the Spiders’ conference losses have come at the hands of current conference frontrunners St. Bonaventure and VCU. Richmond also suffered an upset loss at the hands of La Salle.

Things won’t get any easier for Richmond basketball down the stretch of the regular season. In the coming week, Richmond is scheduled to host UMass and play a road game at Saint Louis. The Spiders will conclude the regular season with a home game against St. Joseph’s. 

Richmond Basketball A10 Tournament Outlook

While the myriad of scheduling disruptions prevented Richmond basketball from gaining any momentum during conference play, one has to like their chances of winning the A10 Tournament. The Spiders remain alive for a double-bye, a distinction that would require them to win just three games to capture the tournament championship.

One need not look any further than Richmond’s most recent triumph over Duquesne to see what this Spiders team is all about. While contributions outside of the starting five are minimal, it’s that quintet of players working together that make Richmond basketball so dangerous in the A10 Tournament. Guards Jacob Gilyard and Blake Francis are the focal points of the veteran-laden and experienced starting five. Four of the Spiders’ five starters are seniors including Gilyard, Francis, Grant Golden and Nathan Cayo. Only forward Tyler Burton (sophomore) is not part of the 2021 Richmond senior class. All five Spirders’ starters are averaging in double figures scoring on the season. 

Richmond Basketball is an A10 Tournament Contender 

The Spiders’ ability to get contributions from anywhere on the floor makes them extremely dangerous heading into the A10 Tournament. Opponents might be able to shut down one or two players, but stopping the entire Richmond basketball starting five from having an impact is a whole different story. Don’t count the Spiders out at 4-1 odds, especially if they finish out the regular season strong and improve their tournament seeding. What’s more, the Spiders will host several games. An experienced team plus home-court advantage is not a combination to overlook.

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