BROOKLYN, N.Y.--Saint Joseph's has been chosen as the Atlantic 10 Conference men's basketball preseason favorite in the league's preseason poll. There were also 25 A-10 student-athletes were selected for preseason awards. The league announced the poll and awards Thursday in conjunction with its annual Media Day, held at Barclays Center. Both the awards and the predicted order of finish were chosen by a panel of the league's head coaches and media members.
Saint Joseph's garnered 434 total points and 11 first-place votes to edge out second-place Saint Louis, which had 10 first-place votes and 432 points. The Hawks finished 20-14 overall and 9-7 in the A-10 last season and return all five starters from that team. SJU also led all teams with five players selected for preseason awards. Saint Louis, chosen second in the preseason poll, finished at 12-4 last year in the A-10 and 26-8 overall. The Billikens came within four points of upsetting No. 1 Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament last season.
League newcomer VCU was picked third with 410 points and three first-place votes, followed by Temple (394 points, two first-place votes), NIT Semifinalist Massachusetts (389 points, two first-place votes) and newcomer Butler (347 points, two first-place votes). La Salle was picked seventh with 281 points and Dayton tallied 264 points to earn the eighth place. Xavier (239 points) and Richmond (235 points) completed the top 10, while defending champion St. Bonaventure, Charlotte, George Washington, Fordham, Rhode Island and Duquesne rounded out the 16-team field.
Dayton senior guard Kevin Dillard and Fordham senior forward Chris Gaston were both named to the Preseason First-Team All-Conference team. UMass' Chaz Williams, Kwamain Mitchell of Saint Louis and Temple's Khalif Wyatt were also named to the Preseason First Team. All five players were named postseason All-Conference in 2011-12, with Williams garnering first-team honors.
Butler newcomer Rotnei Clarke, Charlotte's Chris Braswell and La Salle's Ramon Galloway all earned Preseason Second Team All-Conference honors. Both Carl Jones and Langston Galloway of Saint Joseph's were also named second team.
Two more Hawks players, C.J. Aiken and Halil Kanacevic were named to the Preseason All-Conference Third Team. Darien Brothers (Richmond), Scootie Randall (Temple) and Juvonte Reddic (VCU) joined Aiken and Kanacevic on the third team.
Aiken was the only Preseason All-Conference honoree to also be named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team. Butler's Roosevelt Jones, Charlotte's Pierria Henry, Jordair Jett from Saint Louis and VCU's Briante Weber also made the defensive squad.
Butler and VCU, playing in their first year in the A-10, had two of the five Preseason All-Rookie selections. Butler's Kellen Dunham and Melvin Johnson from VCU both earned a spot on the first-year player team. Rhode Island's Jordan Hare, Daniel Dingle of Temple and Xavier's Semaj Christon rounded out the All-Rookie team.
The 2012-13 season begins on Friday, Nov. 9 with nine Atlantic 10 teams in action. The year will culminate with the 2013 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. March 14-17. The tournament concludes with the finals on Sunday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m. on CBS.