The expectations have begun.
A panel of Atlantic 10 head coaches and media members picked GW to finish second in the conference at basketball media day Tuesday, the best finish since GW was favored to win before the 2005-06 season and an eight-place leap from last season when the team was expected to finish 10th.
GW finished with 343 votes in the poll, behind unanimous first place pick VCU, which finished with 392 points. Junior guard/forward Patricio Garino was also picked for the Preseason All-Conference First Team as well as the All-Defensive team.
Garino wasn’t the only Colonial to will All-Conference honors: Junior forward Kevin Larsen made the Preseason All-Conference Second Team and junior guard Kethan Savage made the Preseason Third team.
Garino earned spots on the All-Conference Third team at the end of last season as well as the All-Defensive team after scoring a team-leading 12.8 points per game in conference play.
Larsen had a breakout performance last season, averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in league play en route to the A-10’s most improved player award. He averaged 11.4 points per game for the season as a whole.
Savage could be one of this year’s breakout candidates, even as the team’s leading returning scorer, after a foot fracture caused him to miss most of the last 15 games of last season. He was averaging 13.4 points through 18 games.
The preseason poll heightens the buzz around the team after being picked slightly lower by offseason polls. SB Nation’s Mid-Major Madness had picked the Colonials to finish third behind VCU and Massachusetts, and CBS Sports college basketball writer Matt Norlander picked the team fifth behind Saint Joseph’s, Dayton, Richmond and VCU. The A-10 coaches and media picked Dayton to finish third followed by Massachusetts and then Richmond rounding out the top five.
GW equaled its second-most wins total in program history last year with 24, tied for third in the A-10 regular season and received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The team will be back in action Nov. 8 with an exhibition game against Bloomsburg.