With the beginning of a new season approaching we are started to see more previews and preseason conference rankings. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman just posted his A-10 power rankings today. He has UMass 4th, which is a bit puzzling to me. I don’t disagree with #7 for Mason here but I’ll also admit that the difference between them, Dayton, Richmond, Saint Joseph’s and Rhode Island will be very small. Fourth or fifth place is probably the ceiling for George Mason in their first year in the conference. Check out the full rankings below:
2) Saint Louis
3) La Salle
7) George Mason – “Paul Hewitt enters the league at a good time, returning his top seven players. Look for leading scorer Sherrod Wright and fellow senior guard Bryon Allen to be the team’s go-to guys, and Hewitt could also play freshman Marquise Moore as part of a three-guard lineup. If senior big man Johnny Williams, who missed the end of the season due to a concussion, and Erik Copes (hip) are both healthy, the Patriots can make some noise in their inaugural season in the conference.”
8) Saint Joseph’s
9) Rhode Island
10) George Washington
11) St. Bonaventure
Also some notes from ESPN’s conference Summer Shootaround series:
Best case: With former coach Jim Larranaga pushing Miami to the hoops elite, and former Patriots forward Luke Hancock playing a star role in Louisville’s national title run, 2012-13 was a bittersweet year for George Mason fans. The good news? The Patriots escaped the struggling Colonial in time to join the more prestigious, albeit weakened, Atlantic 10. With a handful of seniors, Paul Hewitt’s team should be able to transition fairly well, but the best case still feels well short of a tournament berth.
Worst case: Stasis. The Patriots finished ranked No. 131 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency rankings last season. With many of the same players returning and minimal help on the way, the added nightly challenge of a better league could make a repeat of last season look far worse to the untrained eye.