By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
PHILADELPHIA - Atlantic 10 media and coaches predicted that Xavier University will repeat as A-10 West Division champions Thursday at the league's media day.
The Musketeers received the same amount of first-place votes as the University of Dayton, which was picked to finished second in the West.
Both schools received 17 of the 34 first-place votes, and both return four starters and a preseason First-Team player.
All-American candidate Romain Sato was named to the first team for Xavier, while Keith Waleskowski was selected for Dayton.
They were joined by Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson, another All-American candidate, St. Bonaventure's Marques Green and Saint Joseph's Delonte West.
Perennial power Saint Joseph's garnered all 34 first-place votes in the East.
Xavier coach Thad Matta said the preseason hoopla will only matter if the Musketeers follow through on the team's lofty predictions in the regular season.
"When I first started coaching, I thought this preseason stuff meant something," Matta said. "Seriously, it means absolutely nothing to me."
However, the fact that Dayton and Xavier are so evenly matched in preseason voting demonstrates that the Atlantic 10 West race this season could be very interesting between the two rivals.
"I think the fact that they've beaten us the last five times we've played them adds the most fire to it," Waleskowski said of the teams' rivalry.
Xavier won the Atlantic 10 West last season, but Dayton won the postseason conference tournament.
"We've got a lot to do to prove that pick," Sato said. "But you know it's always the same, UD and Xavier. UD has a good team, we have a good team, too."
Three other Xavier players received preseason honors. Seniors Lionel Chalmers and Anthony Myles were named to the third team, and freshman Brandon Cole was selected to the rookie team. Sato also made the defensive team.
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