The Atlantic 10 Conference hosted its annual media day on Thursday, issuing its predictions and preseason standings in addition to its accolades involving players and conference newcomers.
The Preseason Atlantic 10 Poll was as follows:
1. St. Joseph’s
2. Saint Louis
11. St. Bonaventure
13. George Washington
15. Rhode Island
The interesting part about the new 16-team conference, which features both VCU and Butler as newcomers this season, is the fact that teams listed 1-11 were all in contention for NCAA Tournament bids just a season ago.
Looking ahead to the 2012-13 season, there might not be any questioning the fact that this league is not only a multi-bid conference yet again, but that the A-10 could surprise some by getting as many as six or even seven teams into the bracket.
St. Joseph’s, picked as the league’s preseason favorite, comes as a shock to some, but shouldn’t be viewed as so at all. Junior forward C.J. Aiken has all the tools to lead the Hawks and there are more than enough weapons around him.
Xavier can certainly expect a dip in the standings following a number of the losses off a squad that finished in the Sweet 16 last March, but there is no denying the talent level that both Saint Louis and Temple return. VCU and Butler each feature rosters capable of vying for a conference title in their first seasons in the league.
As for UMass, they have the length, athleticism and talent to surprise a few teams this year. Led by junior guard Chaz Williams, the Minutemen are poised to break into the national discussion should they find consistency on the court.
While media day officials labeled St. Joseph’s as the team to beat, the new era that is A-10 basketball is set to undoubtedly provide excitement and multiple bids in 2013.
Preseason marks a prediction, but only their play on the court will decide who stands on top when all is said and done.
Be sure to follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse