- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2005

George Washington was picked to repeat as Atlantic 10 champions in a media poll released yesterday at the conference’s media day. GW received 38 of a possible 65 first-place votes.

A-10 newcomer Charlotte was second with 18 votes, while Temple had eight and Fordham received one.

The Colonials recently gained national acclaim by being ranked No. 24 in the coaches’ preseason poll. GW posted a 22-8 record last season and won the conference tournament to reach the NCAA tournament. Four starters are back, including seniors Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Mike Hall. Both initially had declared for the NBA Draft before returning to school.

“The fact that we had to play with those expectations last year I think is going to help us this year,” Colonials coach Karl Hobbs said earlier in the preseason. “Last year was the first year with expectations. They had to deal with going into games as the favorite. And we didn’t react necessarily well to that.”

Mensah-Bonsu and Hall were selected to the 10-member preseason all-conference team. Mensah-Bonsu and teammate Carl Elliott were named to the preseason all-defensive team.

GW is expected to be followed in the standings by Charlotte, Temple, Xavier and Dayton, respectively. Saint Louis joined Charlotte as new members of the 14-team conference. The Billikens are expected to finish 13th.

The Colonials were the only A-10 team to reach the NCAA tournament last season, when it lost to Georgia Tech in the first round. However, Charlotte, then of Conference USA, also made the tournament, finishing 21-8.

GW won the A-10 West Division last season. But the league scraped divisions this season and will play as one 14-team conference.

The Colonials open their season Nov. 23 by playing host to Kennesaw (Ga.) State, a first-season Division I program. They will be tested during their nonconference schedule against Maryland on Dec. 5 at MCI Center and a New Year’s Eve visit to N.C. State.

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