ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) – Queens has been picked to win the 2017-2018 South Atlantic Conference Men's Basketball Championship as voted by the League's head coaches. The Royals picked up eight top votes and received 98 points from the panel.
Queens, finished the 2016-17 regular season as co-regular season champions and landed the No. 2 seed in the SAC Championship Tournament. The Royals defeated Lincoln Memorial for the second time on the season in the championship final for their first SAC Championship Tournament crown since joining the league in 2013. Queens advanced to the Southeast Region championship final, falling to Lincoln Memorial. Queens comes into the 2017-18 campaign ranked No. 2 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Lincoln Memorial is No. 2 in the 2017-18 SAC Preseason Poll with 91 points and Carson-Newman is No. 3 with 80 points.
The Railsplitters, who earned two top votes from the panel, ended the 2016-17 regular season atop the South Atlantic Men's Basketball standings with Queens and claimed the No. 1 seed in the SAC Championship Tournament. They landed an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament and advanced to the regional finals and defeated Queens to advance to the Elite Eight in Sioux Falls, S.D. LMU picked up a victory over Chico State in the first round, ultimately their season ended to eventual National Champion and No. 1 seed Northwest Missouri State in the D-II Final 4. It marked the 2nd-straight year LMU advanced to the Final 4.
The Eagles, who earned one top vote from the panel, finished the last season fourth in the standings and 19-11 overall with a 15-7 record in league action. Carson-Newman knocked off Newberry in the first round of the SAC Championship Tournament and finished in the semifinals.
At No. 4 in the poll was Catawba who picked up 67 points from the head coaches. The Indians went 18-11 overall and 12-10 in the South Atlantic Conference last season. Wingate followed as it received 62 points, landing in the No. 5 position. The Bulldogs closed out their 2016-17 season at 20-11 overall and 16-6 in the SAC.
Newberry earned the No. 6 position with 57 points. The Wolves were 18-11 overall and 13-9 in the SAC a season ago. Anderson came in at No. 7 with 48 points. The Trojans posted a 13-16 overall record as well as an 11-11 mark in the Conference. Lenoir-Rhyne landed at No. 8 in the preseason poll as it collected 37 points from the panel. Last season, the Bears went 10-17 overall and 9-13 in the South Atlantic Conference
Tusculum came in at No. 9 with 34 points, followed by Coker with 17 points. Mars Hill rounded out the poll as it notched 14 points.
The South Atlantic Conference also announced its preseason All-SAC teams with Charles Clark of Carson-Newman, Queens' Jalin Alexander and Dorian Pinson of Lincoln Memorial headlining the first team as each player earned 2017-18 Preseason All-America honors.
Clark, the 2016-17 SAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year, lead the SAC with 658 points during the 2016-17 season. He connected on 45.5 percent from beyond the arc and finished the season with 21.9 points per outing. Alexander put in 13.3 points per game last season, while Pinson finished the 2016-17 season with 12.5 points per outing.
Anderson's Randall Shaw, Todd Withers from Queens and Catawba's Jameel Taylor rounded out the list of Preseason All-SAC First Team Honorees. Shaw ranked No. 2 in the South Atlantic Conference with 20.6 points per game. He also ranked No. 7 in the League with 473 points. Withers averaged 13.6 ppg for the Royals and Taylor topped the Catawba roster with 17.6 points
Earning second-team honors were Queens's Mike Davis and Ike Agusi, Trevon Shaw and Emmanuel Terry of Lincoln Memorial, Jerrin Morrison of Catawba's and Newberry's Marshall Lange.
The 2017-18 Men's Basketball season gets underway on Friday Nov. 10.
2017-18 Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (First-Place Votes)||Total|
|2||Lincoln Memorial (2)||91|
Charles Clark, Carson-Newman
Randall Shaw, Anderson
Jalin Alexander, Queens
Jameel Taylor, Catawba
Todd Withers, Queens
Dorian Pinson, Lincoln Memorial
Mike Davis, Queens
Trevon Shaw, Lincoln Memorial
Jerrin Morrison, Catawba
Emanuel Terry, Lincoln Memorial
Ike Agusi, Queens
Marshall Lange, Newberry