WASHINGTON — Rhode Island has been picked to repeat as Atlantic 10 Conference men’s basketball champions in the league’s 2017-18 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 Capital One Arena, home of the 2018 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship. The awards and poll were chosen by a panel of the league’s head coaches and select media members.
The Rams, who won their first A-10 title in nearly two decades last year, were a near unanimous pick, garnering 27 of 28 first-place votes and 390 points in the poll. Led by Preseason All-Conference selections E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell, Rhody finished 25-10 overall last year and 13-5 in the A-10. Coach Dan Hurley’s team beat Creighton in the first round of the NCAAs before narrowly losing to Final Four participant Oregon.
St. Bonaventure is second in the 2017-18 preseason poll. The Bonnies totaled 345 points, including one first-place vote. Led by a dynamic backcourt of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, both of whom are Preseason All-Conference First Team selections, Bona finished at 20-12 last year, 11-7 in the A-10.
Hampered by a slew of injuries last year, Saint Joseph’s returns an experienced core of players and is picked third in this year’s poll. Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble, both of whom suffered season-ending injuries last season, return for the Hawks, as does last year’s All-Rookie selection Charlie Brown, Jr. The three are all preseason all-conference selections, leading to the Hawks earning 300 points in the poll.
VCU, which has reached the title game in each of its five seasons in the A-10, garnered 299 poll points to rank fourth, followed by 2016-17 regular season champion Dayton, which had 266 points for fifth place. Davidson was sixth with 245 points and Saint Louis received 225 points to finish seventh in the voting. Richmond (198 points), La Salle (194 points) and George Mason (140 points) finished eighth, ninth and 10th in the poll. George Washington, Massachusetts, Fordham and Duquesne rounded out the preseason rankings, respectively.
Peyton Aldridge of Davidson and VCU’s Justin Tillman, join Matthews, Adams and Mobley on the Preseason All-Conference First Team. George Washington’s Yuta Watanabe, La Salle’s B.J. Johnson and 2016-17 Rookie of the Year De’Monte Buckingham were selected to the Preseason Second Team All-Conference along with Terrell and Newkirk.
Duquesne’s Mike Lewis II, Joseph Chartouny of Fordham, Otis Livingston II of George Mason, and Brown and Kimble were all named to the Preseason All-Conference Third Team. Chartouny, Watanabe, Terrell, Tillman and his teammate Jonathan Williams were all chosen for the Preseason All-Defensive Team.
The 2017-18 men’s basketball season tips off on Friday, Nov. 10. Atlantic 10 Conference play begins on Saturday, December 30. The season will culminate with the 2018 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship, which will be played at Capital One Arena in the nation’s capital. All 13 games of the five-day tournament will be televised. The league’s premiere event will begin Wednesday, March 7 and the league will crown its 2018 champion on March 11, Selection Sunday. Ticket are on sale now through Ticketmaster, institutional box offices and the Capital One Arena box office.