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Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 2:16 p.m.

ESPN rates Colonials schedule as second-toughest in A-10

Tony Taylor, CBE

Senior guard Tony Taylor, last season's top-scorer for the Colonials, was named by ESPN.com as a crucial player to help GW back to the top of the A-10 conference. | File Photo

ESPN.com released its analysis of the non-conference schedules of the Atlantic 10 today, ranking GW’s lineup an 8 on a scale of 1-10 of the “toughness” of its opponents.

The match-ups against California, Kansas State, VCU and Syracuse were deemed the most challenging non-conference opponents GW will face. The next-toughest were Detroit and Austin Peay in the CBE Classic and UAB.

The Colonials tied with Temple and were bested only by Xavier, both NCAA tournament teams last season, for the toughness of the team’s schedule.

The rankings’ analysis said the Colonials “have the players to vie for their first NCAA tournament bid since 2007,” and pointed to the non-conference schedule as one that could help GW’s RPI rating as it looks to return to the tournament. It also pointed to last season’s top-scorer for the Colonials, senior guard Tony Taylor, as a key player in the roster.

ESPN also published a profile of head coach Mike Lonergan today, discussing his decision to travel from Vermont to take the reins of the GW program. Lonergan calls coaching the Colonials his “dream job,” pointing out his familiarity with the area and its recruiting as major reasons for his decision to return to the District. He also talks about pushing the Colonials back to the top of the A-10, looking to “regain respect locally.” Lonergan calls his new post at GW his “last job.”

“When I leave, I want to leave the next guy with a great program,” Lonergan told ESPN. “I think I’ll end up being an AD at a D-3 or something and let my wife get back into coaching.”