Atlantic 10 Championship 2011: Richmond Ends Dayton's Cinderella Run

Richmond ended Dayton's Cinderella Atlantic 10 Tournament run, defeating the Flyers, 67-54, to win the conference championship.

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Atlantic 10 Championship 2011: Richmond Defeats Dayton To Win Automatic NCAA Tournament Bid

Richmond has defeated Dayton, 67-54, to win the 2011 Atlantic 10 championship and earn an automatic berth to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The win is good news for all those bubble teams that were forced to sweat out Selection Sunday, as a win by Dayton would have bumped Richmond into the at-large pool, where they likely would have stolen a bid. Instead, the Spiders will see their seed improve, and Dayton will head to the NIT.

Kevin Anderson scored 23 points and Justin Harper added 18 to lead the Spiders to the win. Those two players have carried the offensive load all season for Richmond, and the defense did the rest, holding Dayton to 38 percent shooting for the game. Chris Wright and Chris Johnson, the two best players for Dayton, shot a combined 6-20 for the game in the loss. 

Richmond was a No. 11 seed in our latest Bracketology predictions, but will likely rise now that they have won the Atlantic 10 Tournament. 

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Atlantic 10 Championship 2011: Richmond Leads Dayton, 34-24, At Halftime

2011 NCAA Tournament bubble teams can breathe easy, for now. Richmond leads Cinderella team Dayton, 34-24, at halftime of the Atlantic 10 Tournament championship game, and if the result holds up, the Flyers won't be stealing a bid from teams like Virginia Tech, Georgia or USC. 

Kevin Anderson leads Richmond with 11 points, as the Spiders led by as many as 15 points in the first half. Richmond is probably in the NCAA Tournament field as an at-large team with a loss, which is why bubble teams everywhere are hoping the Spiders win. Chris Johnson and Devin Searcy lead Dayton with six points apiece. The Flyers were the No. 9 seed in the tournament, but got to this point by beating Massachusetts, Xavier and St. Joseph's.

Neither team is shooting the ball particularly well, but Richmond at least is nailing most of their three-point shots. The Spiders have hit 8-15 from long range, with Anderson leading the way with three three-pointers. 

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Atlantic 10 Championship 2011: Dayton Looks To Top Richmond, Finish Cinderella Run To NCAA Tournament

Dayton was picked to finish first in the Atlantic 10 heading into the 2010-11 season. The Flyers finished ninth. But now, on Selection Sunday, Dayton can still make the 2011 NCAA Tournament by topping Richmond in the Atlantic 10 Conference final.

The Flyers have made a deep run in the Atlantic 10 Tournament by topping Massachusetts, Xavier, and St. Joseph's over the last three days, but there's no way Dayton gets an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament field given the latest bracketology and field projections. So if the Flyers want to make sure they go dancing this March Madness, they will need to beat Richmond — which won the only regular season meeting between the two teams 70-61 in Dayton on January 25 — to earn the Atlantic 10's automatic berth.

Richmond, on the other hand, is looking to shore up its NCAA Tournament seeding. The Spiders knocked off defending Atlantic 10 champion Temple on Saturday, are currently projected as an 11 seed in Chris Dobbertean's projection, and could move up a line with a throttling of Dayton.

The Atlantic 10 Tournament final takes place at 1 p.m. on CBS.

For more on Dayton, Richmond, and the Atlantic 10, check out SB Nation Philadelphia's coverage of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

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