Last year it seemed like destiny that Dayton would be National Champions… at least in my heart. Last year there was a team from the A-10 not named Dayton that could have made some noise in the tournament and that was the Richmond Spiders were that team and man THEY WERE FUN to watch yes, I capitalized it but I want you guys to pay attention this season. They went 24-7 with wins against Big Ten Champion. Oh and let’s talk about this they return their entire starting lineup more than likely.
PG- Jacob Gilyard (Testing Waters) – Gilyard shot 36% from three, had 12 PPG, 3 RPG, and 5 APG. He’s a very good all-around player who can run an offense. His defense is a major factor as well, despite his small 5’9” frame
SG Blake Francis (Testing Waters) – Francis had 17 PPG last season, while shooting 41% from two and 36% from three. He could be a bit more efficient but that’s not bad at all. He is the clear leader of the team.
SF- Nick Sherod – Sherod is a small wing, but an elite shooter (42% from three), you can put him out there and deal with the limited size. He feels like more of a 2 guard, but he’s a very good player.
PF- Nathan Cayo – Cayo is your protypical glue-guy that every good team needs. For Dayton it was Ryan Mikesell, for 2018-19 UVA it was Mamadi Diakite. He’s exactly that 8 PPG and 5 RPG type player that is also a good defender.
C- Grant Golden (Testing Waters) – Golden is a really good player, he had 13 PPG and 6 RPG. That rebound number should see a tick up and if he can stay healthy, he can be the an A-10 First Team guy.
Bench- Tyler Burton, Connor Crabtree, Dijmon Bailey, Andre Gustavson, Andre Weir Isaiah Wilson.
This is a really talented team that is built to win. They have shooters with Gilyard, Francis, and Sherod, along with Tulane Transfer Connor Crabtree he could be the biggest X-Factor for the team. Crabtree is a 36% 3pt shooter and was only a Freshman. He can be the bench piece they need. Guards and Veteran leadership is what carries teams in March and they have all 3 things. You look at UVA 2018-19 Guards/Experience with Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, Mamadi Diakite with experience also Braxton Key, Jack Salt. Then you look at 2017-18 Villanova… Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVencenzo, Mikal Bridges at Guard. Veteran leadership with Brunson, Eric Paschall, Omari Spellman, and Phil Booth. That bench had Donte DiVencenzo, a young Collin Gillespie. By that logic I have Richmond has ALL of the ingredients for a deep NCAA Tournament run.
A full deep-dive on the A-10 will come this week, but obviously Richmond is the team to beat by a country mile. I project the A-10 to be a 3-bid league but that’s for (@bracketologist3) to decide, so pay attention to him. Look for this Richmond team to be really good this season and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.