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Men's Basketball Picked 10th in Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  10/22/2009

Oct. 22, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's has been picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic 10 according to a poll of the Atlantic 10's head coaches and selected media released Thursday during Men's Basketball Media Day. Senior Garrett Williamson was named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team.

The Hawks return three starters - Williamson, Darrin Govens and Idris Hilliard - from last year's team which went 17-15 and finished fifth (9-7) in the league. With four starters and 10 of its top 11 scorers returning from last year's 27-8 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Dayton has been selected as the team to beat in the Atlantic 10 men's basketball race. The Flyers (27-8/11-5) received 33 of the 57 first-place votes cast by the panel of coaches and media members.

Xavier (27-8/12-4) received 18 first-place votes and placed second in the preseason poll. Xavier will be under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Mack. The Musketeers seek to become the first A-10 program to win four consecutive regular season titles since Massachusetts captured five straight from 1992-96.

Richmond (20-16/9-7) was picked third with five starters returning from the program's first 20-win campaign since 2004, and garnered four first-place votes. La Salle was tabbed fourth and received a pair of first-place votes.

Having won the past two A-10 Championships, Temple (22-12/11-5) finished tied with Duquesne (21-13/9-7) for fifth in the poll. The Dukes return four starters from last season's 21-win squad that advanced to the NIT for the first time since 1994.

Charlotte (11-20/5-11) was selected seventh in the poll, while Rhode Island was picked eighth. The Rams (23-11/11-5) have advanced to the NIT in each of the past two seasons while amassing 44 victories. Massachusetts (12-18/7-9) was selected ninth, followed by the Hawks (17-15/9-7), St. Bonaventure (15-15/6-10), Saint Louis (18-14/8-8), George Washington (10-18/4-12) and Fordham (3-25/1-15). In that same poll, the coaches and media selected the preseason All-Conference teams.

The first team is comprised of Allen, Anderson, Green, Wright and Massachusetts' Ricky Harris (18.2 ppg.), the league's leading returning scorer. The second-team consists of Johnson, Richmond's David Gonzalvez, DiJuan Harris of Charlotte, St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, the 2009 A-10 Rookie of the Year, and Damian Saunders of Duquesne. On the third-team are Duquesne's Bill Clark, Keith Cothran of Rhode Island, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, Dan Geriot of Richmond and Kwamain Mitchell of Saint Louis.

The preseason All-Defensive team consists of Williamson, Nicholson, Warren, and Xavier teammates Dante' Jackson and Jason Love. The All-Rookie team is comprised of Shamarr Bowden of Charlotte, Chris Gaston of Fordham, La Salle's Aaric Murray and UMass teammates Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson.

The 2009-10 season tips off on Nov. 13 with eight contests involving A-10 teams, while league play commences on Jan. 6 as George Washington travels to St. Bonaventure, Duquesne hosts Richmond, Saint Joseph's visits Temple and Massachusetts hosts Fordham.

Beginning in 2010, a new format will be in place for the 34th Annual Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Championship and first round games will be hosted on the campuses of teams seeded #5, #6, #7, and #8 on Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2010. The setting then shifts to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., as the quarterfinals will commence on Friday, Mar. 12. Semifinal action will take place on Saturday, Mar. 13, with the Championship game held on Sunday, Mar. 14, and televised live nationally at 1:00pm on CBS Sports for the first time in A-10 history.

Last season marked the 15th time in Conference history and sixth since 2000 that multiple A-10 teams earned at-large berths to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The league received two of just four at-large bids awarded to non-BCS conferences a year ago and over the past two seasons, the A-10 leads all non-BCS conferences with six NCAA berths.