ROCK HILL, S.C. - The Newberry College men's basketball team has been picked fourth in the annual South Atlantic Conference coaches' poll as announced by the conference office Wednesday.
The Wolves are coming off of a 13-14 season that saw them finish as the fourth seed in the league tournament. Newberry led the league in scoring and was sixth in NCAA Division II at 85.0 points per game. Newberry also led the league in rebounding, assists and steals. The Wolves' 12.7 steals per game ranked second in the nation.
Newberry gets its season started Friday, November 11, as the Wolves host the Mom Reeves Memorial Tournament. Georgia College and Lee (Tenn.) will play at 5 p.n. Friday, followed by Newberry's season opener against Salem International. The tournament continues with a consolation and championship game on Saturday, November 12.
Lincoln Memorial, ranked fifth in the preseason NABC/NCAA Division II national poll, has been tabbed by the SAC men's basketball coaches to win the conference title in 2011-12, it was announced on Wednesday.
After winning the regular-season and SAC Tournament championships a year ago, LMU returns three preseason All-Conference selections, including first-team pick and reigning SAC Player of the Year Desmond Johnson. The Railsplitters received six first-place votes in the poll.
Johnson, who averaged 14.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 2010-11, has been named preseason All-America by several media outlets, including Sporting News and Division II Bulletin.
Just behind LMU in the coaches poll is Wingate, which after going 19-10 overall and 12-6 in the league a year ago, returns two first team All-SAC picks in Odell Turner and Jaime Vaught, both of whom averaged double-digit scoring in 2010-11. The Bulldogs received three first-place votes from the coaches.
Anderson, coming off a thrilling Elite Eight run last season, is No. 3 in the SAC to start 2011-12. The Trojans are followed by No. 4 Newberry, No. 5 Carson-Newman and No. 6 Catawba.
The Indians, who received one first-place vote, return preseason All-SAC first team selection Keon Moore, while AU and C-N each return one preseason second-teamer.
Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne, which both have one student-athlete on the preseason All-Conference second team, are No. 7 and No. 8 in the poll, respectively.
Mars Hill and Brevard round out the coaches poll at No. 9 and No. 10, but each return a preseason All-Conference first team selection. MHC's Sammy Emile was a second team All-SAC pick in 2010-11 and is the league's top returning scorer, while BC's Gaither Hendrix averaged 14.9 points per game last season, good for 10th in the conference.
The preseason All-SAC teams are voted on by the league's media relations directors.
The SAC men's basketball regular season gets underway on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2012 Food Lion SAC Basketball Championship will take place March 3-4 in Hickory, N.C.
SAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
Team Points (1st-Place)
1. Lincoln Memorial 96 (6)
2. Wingate 92 (3)
3. Anderson 68
4. Newberry 60
5. Carson-Newman 50
6. Catawba 49 (1)
7. Tusculum 48
8. Lenoir-Rhyne 46
9. Mars Hill 29
10. Brevard 12
Preseason All-SAC First Team
Gaither Hendrix, Brevard
Keon Moore, Catawba
Desmond Johnson, Lincoln Memorial
Sammy Emile, Mars Hill
Odell Turner, Wingate
Jaime Vaughn, Wingate
Preseason All-SAC Second Team
Denzail Jones, Anderson
Ishmael Sanders, Carson-Newman
Allan Jones, Lenoir-Rhyne
Brandon Armstrong, Lincoln Memorial
Cam Carden, Lincoln Memorial
Justin Steigerwald, Tusculum