Sunday, January 03, 1999

A-10 PREVIEW


Four teams lost Top 25 status

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It could not have been a rougher non-conference season for the Atlantic 10.

        Four top-25 teams from the preseason have since vanished from the Associated Press poll. The league was a combined 65-60 against the toughest non-conference schedule in the country (by RPI).

West Division
        1. Xavier (8-4, .667): No. 17 in the preseason, the Musketeers dropped out of the poll a month ago. They have played better for three straight games and are still a favorite to win their division.

        2. George Washington (6-4, .600): Still expected to be XU's biggest challenger for the West title, the Colonials have won three of their last four and are the top scoring team in the A-10 (79.3 ppg). Under first-year coach Tom Penders, GW is trying to become a more uptempo team, but it has been an adjustment. Senior point guard Shawnta Rogers had a career-high 33 points in a loss to Siena, in which GW blew a 15-point lead.

        3. Dayton (5-5, .500): Before its 70-59 victory over DePaul Wednesday , the Flyers had lost four of five games by a total of 10 points, including a two-point loss to No. 4 UC in Cleveland. Tony Stanley (16.7 ppg) and Mark Ashman (14.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) lead the way.

        4. Virginia Tech (5-4, .556): The Hokies are the worst free-throw shooting team in the A-10 but the best in field goal percentage defense. Sophomore Rolan Roberts (14.8 ppg), a force inside last season, has taken his game to the perimeter a little more. Senior Eddie Lucas (16 ppg) has been the best outside threat, while 6-9 freshman Dennis Mims (7.3 ppg) has been a pleasant surprise.

        4. (tie) La Salle (4-5, .444): The Explorers have won three of their last four with the only defeat coming against Purdue. They are 2-0 since 6-8 freshman Rasual Butler became eligible. In his second game, after just three practices, he scored 18 points in 38 minutes against Niagara. Senior K'Zell Wesson is tied for first in the country in rebounding (12.5 rpg).

        6. Duquesne (4-6, .400): Looks like another long season for the Dukes, who have lost six of their last seven under first-year coach Darelle Porter. They lost 88-71 to Canisius — which Xavier beat by 30. A bright spot: Wayne Smith, a 6-7 freshman from Toronto (16.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg).

East Division
        1. Temple (6-6, .500): The Owls, ranked No. 7 in the preseason, have played the toughest schedule in the nation, which always makes them stronger for league play. Despite six losses in eight games, Temple may still be the pick to win the East. It has gotten some immediate help from freshmen Mark Karcher (10.5 ppg off bench) and Kevin Lyde (6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg as starter). Losing sophomore Lynn Greer to an eye injury hurts. He averaged 10.2 ppg and was the best outside shooting threat.

        2. Massachusetts (3-6, .333): The Minutemen are the league's biggest disappointment so far. UMass, which was No. 24 in the preseason, has lost six of eightSenior Charlton Clarke (11.2) got off to a slow start. However, senior Lari Ketner (11.9 ppg. 7.3 rpg) is not living to his first-team all-league status. Junior guard Monty Mack leads UMass in scoring (18.9).

        3. Rhode Island (7-6, .538): The Rams, No. 23 in the preseason, ended a two-game losing streak Wednesday. For the most part, when 6-10 Lamar Odom does not play well, Rhode Island struggles.

        4. St. Bonaventure (5-6, .455): The Bonnies suffered early because point guard Tim Winn was suspended. Since his return, they're 3-2. He's averaged 18.4 ppg, 6.2 assists and 4.4 steals.Junior center Caswell Cyrus has to be consistently good for SBU to do wellin league play.

        5. St. Joseph's (6-5, .545): The Hawks are coming off a tough 3-13 A-10 season and are trying to turn things around with the help of newcomersN'aim Crenshaw (12 ppg) and junior Andre Howard (11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg).

        6. Fordham (6-3, .667): The Rams, 6-42 in three years of A-10 play, are battling to get out of the basement.

       



Xavier Stories
Time for Xavier to get intense
- A-10 PREVIEW

Reds unveil new uniforms
Fans warm to Larkin
Greene, Baerga to see Red next year?
Hearty fans make it through
Bearcats turn up pressure
C-USA PREVIEW
Rooster's story typical 'Noles tale
Buckeyes aim to keep squad intact
Cooper impressed with local Buckeyes
MIAMI 80, WESTERN MICHIGAN 62
MIAMI NOTEBOOK
KENTUCKY 95, FLORIDA 58
NKU 78, MISSOURI-ST.LOUIS 64
CYCLONES 3, MILWAUKEE 1
MIGHTY DUCKS 3, ST. JOHN 0

SEASON IN STORIES