Oct 18, 2016
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – VCU, the defending Atlantic 10 Conference regular season co-champs, were tabbed third by league coaches in the 2016-17 preseason poll, released Tuesday.
In addition, VCU seniors Mo Alie-Cox (Second Team, All-Defensive) and JeQuan Lewis (Third Team, All-Defensive) found their way onto Preseason All-Atlantic 10 squads.
Dayton, which shared the 2016 A-10 regular season with VCU and St. Bonaventure, garnered 16 first-place votes to edge Rhode Island atop the poll. Rhody collected 12 first place votes. Davidson (fourth), St. Bonaventure (fifth) and Richmond (sixth) followed VCU in the poll.
VCU finished 25-11 a year ago, including 14-4 in the A-10. The Rams received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and defeated seventh-seeded Oregon State in the first round. Black and Gold Head Coach Will Wade returns three starters in 2016-17, including Alie-Cox and Lewis, and eight letter winners overall. The Rams also welcome the league's top-rated recruit in De'Riante Jenkins.
The Rams are 60-19 against A-10 foes since joining the league prior to the 2012-13 season, and VCU has reached the league's championship game in each of the past four seasons. The Rams captured the 2015 A-10 Tournament crown over Dayton.
Alie-Cox, a 6-foot-7 forward, serves as VCU's defensive anchor. An All-Atlantic 10 Third Team selection in 2015-16, Alie-Cox averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting a school-record .612 (137-of-224) from the field. He has been a member of the last two A-10 All-Defensive Teams and was named to the 2015 A-10 All-Tournament Team.
Lewis is making his first appearance on an All-Atlantic 10 squad. The senior from Dickson, Tennessee is the Rams leading returning scorer. The 6-1 combo guard averaged 11.3 points and ranked second in the A-10 in assists at 5.1 per game last season. Lewis also knocked down 44 three-pointers and ranked seventh in the league at 1.6 steals per game.
VCU, which has appeared in six consecutive NCAA Tournaments, kicks off the 2016-17 season on Nov. 4 when it hosts Queens (N.C.) in an exhibition contest at the E.J. Wade Arena at the Siegel Center.