March 6, 2005
PHILADELPHIA - The pairings are set for the 2005 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship, which begins on Wednesday, March 9 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. Saint Joseph's opens play on Thursday, March 10 at noon.
Saint Joseph's, George Washington, Temple, and Xavier each earned opening round byes to the Championship. SJU enters the Championship as the overall top seed for the second year in a row after earning its fifth straight East division title, tying UMass (1992-96) for the most consecutive regular season titles in A-10 history. The Hawks are 14-2 in Atlantic 10 play and 17-10 overall. The Hawks' 30-2 A-10 record over the past two seasons is the best two-year mark since Temple went 35-1 during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
George Washington garnered the top seed in the West with an 11-5 record in Conference games and a 19-7 overall record. Xavier took the West's second seed with its 10-6 league mark and 16-11 overall ledger. Temple is second in the East with an 11-5 A-10 record and 15-12 overall record.
The opening round of the 29th annual Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship commences on Wednesday with four games. West No. 4 Richmond (12-14, 7-8 prior to tonight's game with St. Bonaventure) will open Championship play with East No. 5 Rhode Island (6-21, 4-12) at 12:00pm at the U.S. Bank Arena. That game will be followed by Massachusetts (16-11, 9-7), the East's third seed, meeting West No. 6 La Salle (9-18, 5-11). La Salle is the sixth seed by virtue of the tiebreaker. La Salle and Duquesne tied with 5-11 records but Duquesne swept La Salle during the season, thus earning the fifth seed.
The second session of the opening round begins at 6:30pm when Fordham (12-15, 8-8), seeded fourth in the East, faces the West's fifth-seed, Duquesne (8-21, 5-11). The final game of the opening round will start at 8:30pm and feature West third-seed Dayton (17-10, 10-6) against St. Bonaventure (2-24, 1-14 prior to tonight's game with Richmond), the East No. 6 seed. Dayton and Xavier tied for second in the West with 10-6 records. However, Xavier earned the second seed by virtue of the A-10 tiebreaker. The two teams split their season series but Xavier went 8-2 in the West division while Dayton went 5-5.
The Championship continues with quarterfinal round play on Thursday, March 10. Saint Joseph's opens quarterfinal round action at 12:00pm by facing the winner of the Richmond-Rhode Island game. Then it's Xavier squaring off with either Massachusetts or La Salle at 2:00pm. The evening session of the quarterfinal round begins at 6:30pm and sees George Washington taking on the Fordham-Duquesne winner, while Temple faces the Dayton-St. Bonaventure victor in the nightcap.
Semifinal round play takes place on Friday, March 11, beginning at 6:30pm. The final round of the Atlantic 10 Championship will be played on Saturday, March 12. Tip-off is 6:00pm.
Tickets for the opening round Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship can be purchased at the U.S. Bank Arena box office, by calling 513-562-4949, at TicketMaster locations at select Kroger stores in the Cincinnati area, or on line at www.ticketmaster.com.