As expected, the Rhode Island Rams were picked to finish first in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll, which was announced at A-10 Media Day today.
There it is. As most folks (Rhody fans and otherwise) predicted, Rhode Island basketball was picked to finish first in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll. Rhody was nearly a unanimous pick, gathering 27 of a possible 28 first-place votes (St. Bonaventure landed the other). It was all announced at A-10 Media Day earlier today.
A year removed from an Atlantic 10 Tournament title and an NCAA run that nearly landed the Rams in the Sweet Sixteen, the consensus is that this is URI’s conference to lose. Rhode Island is returning nearly everyone from last year’s squad, including their entire back-court. If they can find a way to replace the production of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson, they could be a second weekend team in March.
Here’s a look at the full poll, with first place votes in parentheses.
2017-18 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll
1. Rhode Island (27) – 390
2. St. Bonaventure (1) – 345
3. Saint Joseph’s – 300
4. VCU – 299
5. Dayton – 266
6. Davidson – 245
7. Saint Louis – 225
8. Richmond – 198
9. La Salle – 194
10. George Mason – 140
11. George Washington – 132
12. Massachusetts – 79
13. Fordham – 66
14. Duquesne – 61
URI aside, most pundits are high on Bonventure as well, and they’re the clear challenger to Dan Hurley’s squad headed into 2017-18. St. Joe’s, VCU, Dayton, Davidson, and SLU are also all in the mix to finish near the top. Those teams plus Rhody and Bona clearly make up the top seven.
George Mason could be a dark-horse candidate to break into the top half of the league despite being picked 10th. Although at this point, it doesn’t look like the 8-through-14 teams will pose a threat to Rhode Island.
But hey, that’s why they play the games. Speaking of which, the Rams open their season on November 10th against UNC-Asheville in Kingston.