NEW YORK, N.Y. - Three-time defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion Temple is the favorite to claim the 2011 A-10 Men's Basketball Championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., as voted on by the league's head coaches and selected members of the media. The announcement comes during A-10 Media Day at the CBS College Sports Network Studio in Chelsea Piers on Thursday, October 21.
The Owls, who will bid for their 10th A-10 title this year, received 19 first place votes to lead all schools with 350 points. Xavier (325) and Richmond (311) each received three first place votes and were picked to finish second and third in the league, respectively. Dayton was listed first on one ballot and finished with 310 points to place fourth in the preseason poll.
Rhode Island (233) was selected fifth followed by Saint Louis (223), Charlotte (218), Duquesne (172) and La Salle (133). George Washington (130) placed 10th in the voting followed by Massachusetts (126), Saint Joseph's (91), St. Bonaventure (80) and Fordham (28).
Four of the five student-athletes represented on last year's A-10 All-Conference First Team were named to this year's Preseason First Team including the reigning A-10 Player of the Year in Richmond's Kevin Anderson. The senior guard averaged 17.8 points in 35 games a season ago to lead all Spider players. Anderson is joined on the preseason first team by Temple's Lavoy Allen (11.5 ppg), Dayton's Chris Wright (13.7 ppg), Damian Saunders (15.0 ppg) of Duquesne and St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson (16.4 ppg). Allen, Saunders and Wright earned A-10 first team honors last year. Saunders was named the Defensive Player of the Year after finishing first in the league in steals (2.8 spg) and blocked shots (2.9 bpg) and second in rebounding (11.3 rpg).
The A-10 Preseason Second Team consists of Temple's Juan Fernandez (12.6 ppg), Tu Holloway (12.1 ppg) of Xavier, Rhode Island's Delroy James (13.2 ppg), Charlotte's Shamari Spears (16.0 ppg) and last year's Rookie of the Year in Fordham's Chris Gaston (18.0 ppg).
The Third Team was also represented by five different schools with La Salle's Aaric Murray (12.2 ppg), Dayton's Chris Johnson (11.9 ppg), Chris Braswell (9.5 ppg) of Charlotte, Cody Ellis (10.5 ppg) of Saint Louis and George Washington's Lasan Kromah (11.8 ppg). Johnson is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he was named the 2009-10 Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year.
The Preseason All-Defensive team consists of Anderson, Allen, Nicholson and Saunders - all members of the Preseason First Team - as well as Xavier's Dante Jackson. The five members of the A-10 Preseason All-Rookie team include Dayton's Juwan Staten, Xavier's Jordan Latham, Saint Louis' Rob Loe and Saint Joseph's teammates C.J. Aiken and Langston Galloway.
The 2010-11 season tips off on November 8 as Rhode Island visits Pittsburgh in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. For the fifth year in a row, the A-10 Men's Basketball Championship will be held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., with quarterfinal action beginning Friday, March 11.