The Richmond Spiders have ADVANCED TO GO, or to be more exact, they have exited Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this afternoon as 2011 Atlantic 10 Tournament Champions, defeating the No. 9 seed Dayton Flyers 67-54 to earn an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. (thanks for hanging in on that Monopoly reference)
After allowing upstart Dayton to get within five points early in the second half the No. 3 seed Spiders quickly righted the ship behind the continued stellar play of senior star Kevin Anderson, and held a comfortable lead for the rest of the second half. Anderson topped his semifinal performance by scoring 23 points, and once again he got all the offensive support he needed from fellow senior Justin Harper, who scored 18 points of his own. Richmond finished the game 10 of 21 from three (a gaudy 48 percent).
Chris Johnson and Juwan Staten led Dayton in a losing effort with 11 and 10 points, respectively. After a surprising run to the final it appeared the Flyers were gassed from the start, never seriously threatening to steal the Atlantic 10 crown from the Spiders.
SBNation.com's own PHD of Bracketology, Chris Dobbertean, currently has Richmond as a No. 11 seed in the Big Dance, though I'm now curious if this win bumps them up the S curve to a No. 10 seed? Either way, the Spiders are not a NCAA tournament team to be trifled with (this year's incarnation or historically) - as mentioned yesterday, Richmond is the only school to win NCAA tournament games as a No. 12, 13, 14 and 15 seed. No matter where they're seeded this evening, I see them adding one more number to that list next week.