Know Your 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Opponents

Know Your 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Opponents

Teams in order of 2012-13 preseason coaches’ poll

St. Joe’s features one of the best backcourt duos in the nation with Carl Jones and Langston Galloway, who averaged a combined 32.5 points per game last season. The Hawks were picked to win the conference by the A-10 coaches and have five preseason all-Atlantic 10 picks on their roster.

Full Preview of the Billikens is available here.

The Rams enter their inaugural season in the A-10 as legitimate contenders for the conference title. They replace their only significant loss, Bradford Burgess, with his brother, four-star recruit Jordan Burgess and Melvin Johnson, whose abilities as a 3-point shooter drew interest from Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova.

Even with the return of Khalif Wyatt, Temple’s success will hinge on the performances of Scootie Randall and transfers Dalton Pepper and Jake O’Brien. With “neutral site” games against Duke (New Jersey) and Syracuse (Madison Square Garden) as well as an away game versus Kansas, the Owls boast one of the nation’s toughest non-conference schedules.

Chaz Willliams leads a veteran UMass squad that appears primed to not only compete for an A-10 title, but also has a legitimate chance of snapping its 14-year NCAA Tournament drought. Williams and Terrell Vinson provide a nice one-two punch for coach Derek Kellogg’s up-tempo system.

Chrishawn Hopkins, arguably Butler’s best player, was dismissed from the team in September for a repeat rules violation. Offensively, the Bulldogs will receive a boost along the perimeter from Arkansas-transfer Rotnei Clarke who averaged 15.2 points per game and shot nearly 44% from three-point range in 2010-11.

The Explorers return four starters, including two of their top three scorers. With a soft non-conference schedule, plus the mid-December addition of Virginia Tech transfer Tyrone Garland, La Salle should contend for an A-10 title.

Inside, the Flyers will be hurt by the loss of Matt Kavanaugh, who was suspended in Oct. for violating team rules. Leading scorer Kevin Dillard will be joined this year by newly eligible transfers Vee Sanford (Georgetown) and Matt Derenbecker (LSU). The Flyers will also look to incoming freshman Dyshawn Pierre, who was recruited by Missouri, Baylor and Marquette, to have an immediate impact.

A brutal offseason has left the Musketeers decimated. Tu Holloway and Kenny Frease graduated, Mark Lyons transferred to Arizona and Dezmine Wells was expelled. Those four players accounted for nearly 53 points per game. Compounding Xavier’s problems, recruits Myles Davis and Jalen Reynolds were declared academically ineligible for the upcoming season.

The point guard trio of Darien Brothers, Kendall Anthony and Derrick Williams will play a pivotal role for the Spiders who are looking to rebound from last year’s rebuilding season.

With the departure of Andrew Nicholson, the Bonnies will lean heavily on Demitrius Conger to step up with senior Michael Davenport, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.

Senior Chris Braswell could find himself in the conversation for A-10 player of the year, but that’s just about the only bright spot for Charlotte heading into their final season with the conference.

GW is composed almost entirely of newcomers with six new faces on its roster, including Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood, who should help bolster their defense.

Fordham may be among the most improved teams this season, but a tough schedule that includes non-conference games against Pittsburgh and Connecticut may overshadow their improvement.

Rhode Island will lean on its incoming freshmen after an off-season transfer (Billy Baron) and an expulsion (Jonathan Holton) further excavated their roster. Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection Jordan Hare figures to have an immediate impact with the Rams.

2012-13 will be something of a rebuilding year for Duquesne, who lost four of its top five scorers from a season ago, including TJ McConnell, who transferred to Arizona in the spring. New head coach Jim Ferry will look to Sean Johnson to help lead the young team through the season.