On May 8, 2013, Davidson College announced that itï¿½will be joining the Atlantic-10 Conference on July 1, 2014. Fast forward toï¿½todayï¿½and the Davidson Wildcats are now a part of theï¿½A-10.
Coming to the Atlantic-10 Conference will be a test for the Wildcats as they have called the Southern Conference home since 1936. Since the 2011-12 season, Davidson has won 20 games or more for three straight seasons.That is what you call dominance. With that so-called dominance Davidson proved it could play with the big boys. Remember, this is the same school that produced sharp shooter Stephen Curry.
Last season, Davidson finished the season 20-13 and 15-1 in conference play. They would lose to Western Carolina in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament and be a seventh seed in the NIT.
In the NIT, they would lose to the second-seeded Missouri Tigers 85-77.
That is the way their season ended as they move on to the Atlantic-10. Coming into the Atlantic-10 Conference, the Wildcats had two straight NCAA tournament appearances in 2012 and 2013.
Unlike the Southern Conference, the Atlantic-10 will be hard to get a tournament bid as an at large. So for the Wildcats, the goal has to be to win the Atlantic-10 Conference title this upcoming season and it will be tough.
The Atlantic-10 had Dayton, Massachusetts, Saintï¿½Louis, VCU, Saintï¿½Joseph’s, and George Washington all qualifying for the NCAA tournament last season. If you remember, last season, Saintï¿½Joseph’s won the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament and got the automatic bid.
Davidson needs to be striving towards that goal and it’s possible.
Saintï¿½Joseph’s, whichï¿½was the fourth seed, won the conference tournament by beating VCU, whichï¿½was the second seed. Saintï¿½Joseph’s had a nice mixture of youth and senior leadership that got them to that point.
Out of Davidson’s top leading scorers, two of them will be returning this season. They are junior guard Brian Sullivan, who averaged 12.9 points per game, and senior guard Tyler Kalinoski, who averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.
The Wildcats will have to lean on those two specifically if they want to make noise year one in the Atlantic-10.
Now, looking at their non-conference schedule, this is where Davidson will have to build up their resume and wins just in case they get into at-large scenario in terms of the NCAA tournament.
When it comes down to their non-conference schedule, they will be taking on the likes of Charlotte, UCF, North Carolina, College of Charleston, and Virginia. If Davidson can knock off the big boys of the ACC in Virginia and North Carolina, there is no telling what they can do in conference play.
Finally, in conference play, Davidson will have to go on the road to take on La Salle, UMass, Rhode Island and Saintï¿½Joseph’s. They will have home-and-home series against Duquesne, George Mason, George Washington, Richmond and VCU.
Lastly, they will invite Dayton, Fordham, St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis to their house. It is already hard enough to pick who is going to win these Atlantic-10 Conference games.
Last season especially proved that on any given day, any Atlantic-10 team can be upset either on the road or at home. Finally, every single game will be tough.
Head coach Bob McKillop and the Wildcats will have a tall task in the Atlantic-1o but do not expect for there to be a drop off in how they play. They will still play tough basketball on both ends of the court.
The difference is this time around it’s against better competition.