ODU picked to repeat as CAA champ
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Old Dominion, with four starters returning from a 27-win team that defeated Notre Dame in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, was selected as the favorite to repeat as champion of the Colonial Athletic Association.
George Mason, which returns all five starters, was picked second. Virginia Commonwealth, also coming off a 27-win season, finished third in the poll of the conference's coaches released Tuesday at the conference's annual basketball media day.
James Madison, just 13-20 last year, was fourth, followed by Hofstra, Drexel, Northeastern, William & Mary, Delaware, Towson, Georgia State and North Carolina-Wilmington.
Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor was quick in his attempt to extinguish the thought that his Monarchs were the clear-cut favorite in what looks again to be a deep league.
"How good are we going to be? Who knows?" Taylor said. "That's why everybody buys tickets to come and find out."
What Taylor does know is that there will be plenty of obstacles in a CAA that produced a league-record six postseason teams last year and returns 12 of its top 20 leading scorers and rebounders.
"Our [conference's] reputation, far and wide, is growing," said Taylor, who has led the Monarchs to an average of 24.3 victories over the past six seasons. "One of the things you've got to do when you have a tough league is to cheer for each other. Now if we can get someone ranked or get multiple teams knocking on the door to get ranked, that's good."
Reigning conference player of the year Charles Jenkins of Hofstra, an honorable mention All-American a year ago, was joined on the preseason all-CAA first team by Northeastern's Chaisson Allen, George Mason's Cam Long, James Madison's Denzel Bowles and Virginia Commonwealth's Joey Rodriguez.
James Madison was selected to repeat as women's champion. Old Dominion was picked second, followed by Delaware, Hostra and Virginia Commonwealth.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press