-- George Washington and Saint Joseph's were picked to win their respective Atlantic 10 divisions in a poll of men's basketball coaches and media.
GW received 48 of the 54 first-place votes in the A-10 West in the poll released Thursday at the conference's media day. Atlantic 10 tournament champion Xavier earned six first-place votes.
Karl Hobbs, entering his fourth season as the Colonials' head coach, isn't buying into the hype.
"I'm always a skeptic," Hobbs said. "It's certainly flattering now, and I might buy into it later. Until we start winning 20-plus games with consistency, I'll be [a] skeptic. If we were to get to the NCAA tournament, we will have overachieved."
George Washington returns 13 players, including all five starters, from last year's 18-12 squad that finished second in the division and earned an NIT berth.
GW, eyeing its first NCAA tournament bid since 1999, is sparked by senior guard T.J. Thompson. The preseason first-team A-10 selection averaged 13.2 points last season. Sophomore guard Carl Elliott joins Thompson in the backcourt.
West division rival Xavier will be guided by first-year coach Sean Miller, an assistant under Thad Matta for three years. The Musketeers return Dedrick Finn and Justin Doellman. Finn, a junior guard, started 19 games and averaged 8.5 points. Doellman, a 6-foot-9 forward, contributed 7.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in his first year.
Dayton returns two starters from last year's 24-9 team that won the division and qualified for the NCAA tournament. Sophomore guard/forward Marques Bennett and senior guard Mark Jones lead the Flyers.
In the East Division, the Hawks landed 27 first-place votes despite losing All-Americans Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. Saint Joseph's welcomes back three starters from last year's 30-2 team that went unbeaten in the Atlantic 10 and advanced to a regional final in the NCAA tournament.
"It will be different, but we take each team as a separate entity," Coach Phil Martelli said. "Last year wasn't just about a great team. It was more about our attempt to develop a great program."
Temple and Massachusetts each got 12 first-place votes. Rhode Island got six.
Temple (15-14 last year) has size and experience in three juniors -- 6-6 guard Mardy Collins, 6-8 forward Antywane Robinson and 7-1 center Keith Butler. Top newcomers include 6-11 sophomore center Wayne Marshall and freshman 6-5 guard Mark Tyndale, regarded as one of the best in the conference's freshmen class.
Massachusetts returns all five starters from a team that finished a disappointing 10-19 last year. Rashaun Freeman, a first-team preseason A-10 conference selection, posted 15.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season.
Rhode Island is coming off its second straight 20-win season and a berth in the NIT.