Coach: Karl Hobbs (64-53 in four seasons).

Last season: 22-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10, won conference tournament.

The glue: Pops Mensah-Bonsu is the fan favorite. High-flying Danilo "J.R." Pinnock demands highlight-reel time. Carl Elliott hit the Colonials' most memorable shot last season, a half-court heave to beat Dayton at the buzzer.

Mike Hall, though, might be the team's most important player, which is why Pinnock calls him "the heart and soul of this team."

Hall's value is, in large part, his versatility. The 6-foot-9 senior will defend both centers and shooting guards, depending on the situation. He led the Colonials in both rebounding and three-point shooting last season and averaged the most minutes of any returning player.

Like Mensah-Bonsu, Hall declared himself eligible for the NBA draft last spring before deciding to return to school. He said that process was about trying to market himself to the pros, and that the best way to do that this year will be to help the Colonials return to the NCAA tournament.

"There's players all over the country that can score, defend, are athletic," he said. "You just have to win and prove you can do it in the spotlight, and then your talent will be legitimized."

Game to watch: March 4, vs. Charlotte. One of two newcomers to the Atlantic 10 -- along with Saint Louis -- Charlotte is expected to challenge GW for the league title. The teams combined to receive 56 of 65 first-place votes in the preseason media and coaches' poll. This game is the regular season finale for both teams.

Postseason prospects (from 1 to 4 basketballs): Anything less than a return to the NCAA tournament would be a major disappointment.