BROOKLYN, N.Y.—VCU was unanimously selected as the 2014-15 preseason favorite in the league’s annual Atlantic 10 Conference men’s basketball preseason poll. The conference announced the poll and Preseason All-Conference awards Tuesday in conjunction with its annual Media Day, held at Barclays Center. The awards and poll were chosen by a panel of the league’s head coaches and media members.
The Rams, the 2013-14 Atlantic 10 Championship runners-up, garnered all 28 first-place votes to total 392 points in the poll. VCU, which finished 26-9 overall last year and 12-4 in the A-10, has two players on the Preseason All-Conference First Team and three total preseason honorees.
George Washington was picked to finish second with 343 points. Last year, the Colonials made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007, finishing 11-5 in conference play and 24-9 overall. Dayton, which finished last season with a magical run to the NCAA Elite Eight, was picked to finish third with 339 points.
Massachusetts was selected fourth with 294 points, followed by Richmond in fifth with 261 points. Rhode Island was picked to finish sixth with 253 points, followed by La Salle with 221 points. Defending Atlantic 10 Championship Saint Joseph’s was chosen eighth with 201 points, and last year’s regular season champion, Saint Louis, garnered 181 points for ninth place.
St. Bonaventure (130 points), Duquesne (94 points) and league newcomer Davidson (84 points) were chosen 10th through 12th. George Mason and Fordham rounded out the 14-team poll, respectively.
Dayton senior guard Jordan Sibert, George Washington junior guard/forward Patricio Garino and Richmond senior guard Kendall Anthony were all named to the Preseason First Team All-Conference. They are joined by Saint Joseph’s sophomore and 2013-14 Co-Rookie of the year DeAndre’ Bembry, 2013-14 First Team All-Conference selection Treveon Graham and two-time A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Briante Weber, both VCU seniors. The Preseason First Team includes six players due to a tie in the voting.
Dayton junior forward Dyshawn Pierre, George Washington junior forward Kevin Larsen, La Salle senior forward Jarrell Wright, UMass senior center Cady Lalanne and Rhode Island sophomore E.C. Matthews, the 2013-14 Co-Rookie of the Year, were named to the Preseason Second Team All-Conference.
The Preseason Third Team is made up of Fordham sophomore Jon Severe, GW junior guard Kethan Savage, La Salle senior center Steve Zack, Rhode Island senior forward Gilvydas Biruta and St. Bonaventure senior center Youssou Ndoye.
Garino, Zack and Weber also made the Preseason All-Defensive Team. Joining the trio are the two top A-10 shot blockers from last year, Rhode Island sophomore Hassan Martin and Richmond junior Alonzo Nelson-Ododa.
The 2014-15 season tips off on Friday, Nov. 14 with nine Atlantic 10 teams in action. Conference play will begin Saturday, Jan. 3 with six league matchups. The year will culminate with the 2015 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. March 11-15. The Championship, which will include all 14 teams, concludes with the final on Sunday, March 15 at 1:00 p.m. on CBS.