The Atlantic 10 Conference coaches and media selected Temple to win the East Division and Xavier to win the West at the league's annual media day. George Washington was picked to finish third in the West but received eight first-place votes.
The defending West Division champion Colonials did not place any players on the preseason all-conference first team, but junior guard Mike King made the second team.
The Owls, who received all but one first-place vote, return four starters from last season's team, which reached the round of eight in the NCAA tournament. They are picked among the top 10 in nearly every national preseason poll.
George Washington Coach Tom Penders does not seem to mind that the Colonials were picked third in their division.
"I try to keep the pressure off the kids," he said. "I tell them that people don't expect them to do much and they've got to prove them wrong."
Penders brought in two players to replace point guard Shawnta Rogers, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, who completed his eligibility last season. Junior college transfer Bernard Barrow and freshman Val Brown will share time running the offense this season.
"Bernard Barrow is the best point guard on the team," Penders said. "Val is the second-best point guard on the team, but Val is probably the best two guard on the team. They're going to get plenty of minutes. Hopefully, they'll be able to score a lot together."
Brown, who was known in high school as Val, wants to go by his full name--SirValiant Martin Brown--in college and asked sports information director Brad Bower to print it in the media guide.
Freshman guard Chris Monroe (Good Counsel) had surgery for a deviated septum in late September, hampering his progress. Penders said Monroe is just starting to get his conditioning back. Forward Jason Smith, who redshirted last season after suffering an abdominal hernia, has bulked up from 185 to 207 pounds.
"He lives in the weight room," Penders said.
Depending on how well Barrow, Brown and Monroe play, Penders suggested that he might move King to the small forward spot from the shooting guard spot.
Hokies' Farewell Tour
On Tuesday, the Big East Conference presidents voted to confer full conference membership on Virginia Tech effective July 1. That means this is the final season for the Hokies in the Atlantic 10. It also leaves the league with an odd number of teams.
The Atlantic 10 athletic directors met with Commissioner Linda Bruno today to discuss the league's options.
"We're going to meet and see what we want to do," Bruno said. "We don't have to do anything. An odd number is not a great number, but I think we'll probably be that way for at least a year. We don't need to take anyone. We're not going to just take someone to have an even number." . . .
New Virginia Tech coach Ricky Stokes said he is pleased with freshman guard Tony Dobbins (Maret).
"He's a coach's delight," Stokes said. "[He is] a guy who comes in early, stays late, just wants to be the best that he can be."
Temple Coach John Chaney loves his point guard, Pepe Sanchez, who had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3 to 1 last season and is a preseason first-team all-conference pick.
"He's the best point guard in the country," Chaney said. "He has more savvy than anybody we've had at Temple for many, many years. I've had some great point guards--Nate Blackwell, I would have to say, is one of the best--Pepe is right there with him in terms of understanding the game."
However, Chaney is none too thrilled with the latest hair and fashion trends sported by today's players. This season he has outlawed long hair, cornrows, facial stubble and jewelry on his team.
ATLANTIC 10 MEN'S PRESEASON PICKS
St. Bonaventure (1)
Geo. Washington (8)
Virginia Tech (2)
First-place votes in parentheses