The Atlantic 10 released its annual preseason poll Tuesday morning at Barclays Center and Saint Louis University, the league’s defending champion, was selected to finish second—19 points behind preseason favorite VCU. The Billikens were the only team other than the Rams to receive any first place tallies, grabbing five of the possible 24 votes.
La Salle, coming off its unprecedented run to the Sweet 16, was selected to finish third, with Massachusetts and Saint Joseph’s rounding out the top five. A-10 newcomer George Mason was slotted eighth.
SLU was also represented on the Preseason All-Conference teams. Senior Dwayne Evans, who earned First Team All-Atlantic 10 honors in 2012-13, returned as a First Team Preseason selection, while fellow senior Jordair Jett received Third Team and All-Defensive Team accolades. Jett was also named Third-Team All-Conference last season and was a member of the A-10 All-Defensive Team for the second year in a row.
Despite an extremely tumultuous start to the season that included the abrupt departure and subsequent passing of beloved coach Rick Majerus and numerous injuries to key players, the Billikens earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament after claiming both the regular season and conference tournament titles. SLU rolled past New Mexico State in the second round in San Jose, but was denied its first trip to the Sweet 16 by Oregon. While their season came to an abrupt end, the Billikens finished the year 28-7 overall—a school record for victories.
Five of the eight players returning this season for Saint Louis are seniors, including Evans, Jett, Mike McCall Jr., Jake Barnett and Rob Loe, who have a combined 3,438 career points. The group of Evans, Jett, Loe and McCall, all of whom have logged significant minutes since their freshman season in 2010-11, are just 24 wins shy of becoming the winningest class in school history (Cody Ellis and Cory Remekun were part of teams that accumulated 89 wins over a consecutive four-year stretch).
Following #BillikenMadness on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Chaifetz Arena (doors open at 5 p.m., festivities begin at 6 p.m.), SLU will play its lone exhibition game against Fontbonne on Thursday, Oct. 31. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
SLU will kick off the regular season against SEMO on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.