Posted Monday, Jan. 30, 5:50 p.m. For the first time since Jan. 3, 1956, the GW men’s basketball team has broken into the top 10 of Division I college basketball. The Colonials are No. 10 in The Associated Press writers poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll after opening up the season 16-1 and 6-0 in the Atlantic 10.
The Colonials have been ranked in both polls all season, and with placement in this week’s poll, the program equals its longest streak in The AP poll, with 13 straight weeks. The ranking is the highest the men’s team has been since the week of Feb. 15, 1955 where the squad was No. 7.
Coach Karl Hobbs, is his fifth year with the squad, said he was happy but also cautious, as difficult portions of the season lie ahead.
“Obviously I’m excited about it but at the same time I’m very realistic,” Hobbs said after practice Monday. “For me, it doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of the whole season.”
Hobbs, who throughout the season has downplayed media speculation about his team’s performance, said he is trying to make the Colonials focus on playing cautious basketball and treating every possession as if it were the last of the season.
Senior Mike Hall, a member of Hobbs’ first recruiting class at GW, has been an integral part of the Colonials’ rise to national prominence. Echoing Hobbs, Hall said it is important to remain forward looking.
“(The first recruiting class) came in when we were in the bottom of the A-10 and its kind of good to see that our hard work has paid off a little,” Hall said. “But we know that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t guarantee us a spot in the tournament. We are just going to continue to work. It’s motivation for us.”
GW Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz, a former member of the NCAA tournament selection committee, said that the ranking makes for good exposure but does little for the team in a practical sense.
“No one is going to roll over and say, ‘you’re in the top 10,'” Kvancz said. “It’s a great tribute to the guys on this team and Coach Hobbs and his staff to get the national recognition I know they deserve. I think it’s a recruiting tool.”
Thursday’s matchup with A-10 foe Xavier will be one of the season’s most important contests. The Colonials have never beaten the Musketeers in the Cintas Center and have lost nine of the last 10 games against the Ohio school.
The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ESPN college basketball personality Dick Vitale, along with Brad Nessler, will be calling the game.
The GW Spirit Department is hosting “A GW road game at the Smith Center.” The festivities will try to mimic the atmosphere of a home game, with the contest shown on the scoreboard monitors. Doors will open at 6 p.m.