Official Atlantic 10 Preseason Predictions Announced

The projected Atlantic 10 standings and all league teams for the 2010-11 season were announced yesterday at the Atlantic 10 Media Day in New York. A poll of coaches and some media members has predicted that Duquesne will finish eighth in the league with last season’s champion Temple projected as the team to beat with 19 first place votes.  The poll results were as follows…

Rk Team #1v Pts
1 Temple 19 350
2 Xavier 3 325
3 Richmond 3 311
4 Dayton 1 310
5 Rhode Island 233
6 Saint Louis 223
7 Charlotte 218
8 Duquesne 172
9 La Salle 133
10 George Washington 130
11 Massachusetts 126
12 Saint Joseph’s 91
13 Saint Bonaventure 80
14 Fordham 28

There are not too many surprises here, it follows much of the conventional wisdom. In the newly released Coaches poll, the Temple Owls are ranked 22nd and Xavier received some votes. I would agree that these teams are the class of the conference. I would even have the Owls ranked higher, they are loaded and they will likely move up the ladder after their non conference schedule.

The Dukes on the other hand are not given much respect this year after perhaps receiving too much last year. The voters may have some buyer’s remorse left over from ranking Duquesne 5th preseason. Tha was overly kind and most Dukes fans would have told you that. Losing a do it all point guard in Aaron Jackson is difficult to make up. The team did not have and identity last year and was lost without a stabilizing presence like Jackson.

I feel as if this year, the Dukes have reclaimed an identity. After losing  malcontented shooting guard Melquan Bolding and dead space 0f Oliver Lewison, the 2010-11 team will return to its running roots. A key contributor will be freshman T.J. McConnell. He could provide that presence Jackson was, but his youth indicates it may take awhile before he can live up to his potential. If he picks up where he left off in the summer league and is good right away that would go a long way in propelling the Dukes up the standings. I am not that optimistic, however with the losses of players at St. Louis, that should objectively move Duquesne up a spot. With an improved A-10, the Dukes should be an NIT contender even at number 8.

Nonetheless, this is a good thing. These expectations should allow the Dukes to fly below the radar and catch the league by surprise. Development of the incoming players and the steady presence of veterans should allow the team to play with high energy and heart. The coaches have had their say, now lets play the games.

Note: I will begin posting team previews soon.

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