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Atlantic Ten anticipates a shift of power at the top featuring St. Louis, St. Joe’s | Conference preview

The Hawks were picked to finish second to St. Louis. La Salle, guided by first-year coach Ashley Howard, was picked 12th.

Javon Bess is an all-Atlantic Ten selection for St. Louis — one of three on Travis Ford's roster.
Javon Bess is an all-Atlantic Ten selection for St. Louis — one of three on Travis Ford's roster.Read moreJeff Roberson / AP

It says a lot about the comings and goings in the Atlantic Ten that neither the team that won the 2017-18 regular season – Rhode Island – or the conference title – Davidson – was picked first in the preseason poll.

For that matter, St. Bonaventure, the third team from the A-10 to make the NCAA Tournament, wasn't either.

St. Louis, which barely finished over .500 at 17-16 and was 9-9 in the conference, is the preseason favorite to win the league.

Saint Joseph's, which was 16-16 overall and 10-8 in the A-10, was picked second.

The Billikens, who received 15 first-place votes, return four of their top six players, including preseason all-conference picks Javon Bess, Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French. St. Louis is the only team with three players rated in the top 15 and it also adds high-scoring graduate student Tramaine Isabell (21 ppg, 7.5 rpg) who transferred from Drexel. Transfer Dion Wiley, formerly of Maryland, is also eligible.

>> READ MORE: La Salle's Jeryn Reese looks to regain scoring touch in senior season

Billikens coach Travis Ford also convinced freshman Carte'Are Gordon, the 73rd ranked prospect in 2018, to reject offers from Kansas and Missouri and stay home in St. Louis.

St. Joe's, which got four first-place votes, is anticipated to get a big boost from the return from injuries to Charlie Brown and Lamarr Kimble, who are both preseason third team all-conference selections.

>> READ MORE: Charlie Brown grows up | Mike Jensen

Davidson returns first-team all-conference choice Kellan Grady and third-team member Jon Axel Gudmundson and is picked to finish third.

Rhode Island, which finished 26-8 and 15-3, lost coach Dan Hurley to Connecticut and its top two scorers. The Rams are predicted fifth.

La Salle guard Pookie Powell was selected second team all-conference, but overall, first-year coach Ashley Howard's team was picked to finish 12th.

The Atlantic Ten should have some highlight-reel scoring nights with likes of Grady (18.0 ppg); Massachusetts guard Luwane Pipkins (21.2 ppg) and George Mason guard Otis Livingston II.

More season previews

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>> ST. JOE'S: The Hawks are a new team with Kimble and Brown back

>> DREXEL: Dragons will rely on Troy Harper and Kurk Lee to lead march toward improvement

>> TEMPLE: Quinton Rose's NBA tryouts made him a stronger player for the Owls

>> WOMEN: Most City Six teams face changes … and then there is Villanova