How GW will win the Atlantic 10 tournament


By Ryan Puleo and Andrew Wiseman

The A-10 tournament is upon us, with #11 seed GW facing #14 seed Fordham today at 2pm ET. The full bracket is here, and GW technically has a shot of winning the tournament. Below, Ryan Puleo and myself describe how that will happen, starting with the reasonable and ending with the preposterous.

How GW will win the A-10 Tournament

Despite only being the 11 seed going into this year’s conference tournament, GW has a genuinely realistic path to a successful run to the title. In the first round, we play Fordham. We were able to handle them with ease this year in our first meeting in December, but this game still worries me. The Rams ended the Colonials' season last year in what was ultimately the final A-10 game of the season, and a matchup this year has all indications of being a trap game. 

Nonetheless, I have faith in Coach Christian and company to deal with this Ram just as any person would: by hunting it down and turning it into a delicious Wednesday night dinner. 

Following that potential victory, George Mason would be next. This one is a little more tricky as GW lost to this team about a week ago, but this too is most certainly a winnable game. The Colonials jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead in that matchup, only to end up losing by 5. If we can fix up that second half, it should be a win. To be honest, that lineup is very favorable to the Colonials. 

But following those games, we come into a new tier of competition: GW would play Davidson in the quarterfinal matchup, which poses a unique challenge. This would be a team they have not seen this season, and thus would be going without having already tested the waters. However anything can happen in March, and GW has the potential to be an explosive team that can play with anyone. The same goes for any of the teams GW would see after this game. 

Teams like Dayton and St. Bonnaventure will be playing in the late stages of the tournament, but if GW clicks defensivly, Battle gets hot from 3, and Bishop keeps being the playmaker he is then there is the chance for GW to shock a few people and go dancing. RP

Other ways GW can win the tournament

Aside from pure basketball skill and matchups as described above, there are a few other ways the good guys can take the tournament, all of which are totally ridiculous and absurd. Here are a few, compiled by Andrew.

Food:
This year's entire tournament is held in Richmond, with games at VCU's Siegel Center and Richmond's Robins Center. Teams will be staying at local hotels, most likely with lockdowns or at least curfews. That means a lot of room service. GW could win it all if every other team, or even a few players, order the sushi or something you probably shouldn't pick from a hotel room service and come down with bad cases of food poisoning. Or maybe those other teams eat too much BBQ, of which there is plenty in Richmond, and are too stuffed to compete. GW players, on the other hand, eat healthy stuff or are powered by Perly's and turn out fine. Advantage: GW

Booze:
Another related possibility is that college kids can get antsy. Richmond is a fun place to visit and has a fair amount of good places to go out, with some cool neighborhoods like the Fan and Scott's Addition, and lots of good breweries. Maybe a few key players from each team sneak out of the hotels and hit the bars and clubs, or visit local awesome breweries like the Veil, Vasen, Hardywood, Ardent and so on.  I've been to a lot of these myself, and there is a risk: many of these breweries have extremely strong beers, upwards of 10% alcohol. Maybe these players think they are drinking Natty Light or some other normal college beer, imbibe at that same rate, and end up totally hammered and hung over. It has happened to me. GW, on the other hand, enjoys a quiet night at Gwar Bar and stay sober enough to kill it on the court.

Arts:
Richmond is also a very historic city, with a lot of great museums, historical sites, ornate gardens and so on. Perhaps the top Bonnies, Rams, Billikens, Wildcats and so on get enchanted by Maymont Gardens, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Kehinde Wiley's statue Rumors of War, or the American Civil War Museum and decide to skip the games and learn stuff. Another, worse version of this is that they visit Confederate sites like the headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, others players learn about it and say "hey, that's messed up" and the discord within otherwise strong teams dooms them to defeat. It's possible, just read about the Spanish Civil War.

Grades:
Student-athletes are still students, and this has been a strange year for studying. Maybe a few players on other teams get sick of Zoom class and get ahold of a test from a previous class, or copied and pasted some essay from another source. (Note to students: don't do this. Blackboard automatically checks.) The schools find out, the players are suspended, while GW, being full of honorable and good folks, (don't google "ken starr college" or "l ron hubbard college") of course don't cheat and stay eligible. 

Cataclysm:
Richmond isn't known for natural disasters, but who knows, maybe there's a freak blizzard, a meteor hits or Godzilla emerges from the James River and GW is the only team able to make it to their games. Go Colonials!

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