ROCK HILL — The Newberry College men’s basketball team has been predicted to finish third in the South Atlantic Conference in the annual preseason coaches’ poll, which was released by the league office Wednesday.
The Wolves - who received one first place vote in the poll - are coming off of a 16-12 season in 2011-12 with a 9-9 SAC record, which was good enough for fourth in the league. Newberry set the conference record for scoring average with 87.9 points per game and advanced to the SAC Tournament semifinals for the fourth time in program history.
Newberry also set the conference record for most three-pointers made in a season and finished second in the nation in scoring and sixth in the nation in three-pointers and steals per game.
The Wingate Bulldogs are predicted to finish first, coming off a 2011-12 season in which they went 21-12 overall and finished third in the regular season SAC standings at 13-5. WU got hot late, winning the SAC Tournament championship and advancing to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship.
Wingate received five first-place votes in the poll.
Just behind Wingate in the preseason poll was Lincoln Memorial, which garnered two first-place votes. The Rail splitters went 26-6 overall last season, and their 14-4 SAC record was the league’s second-best.
LMU earned an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship, advancing to the regional semifinals before falling to eventual regional champion Montevallo.
No. 4 in the preseason poll behind Newberry is Carson-Newman. The Eagles are followed by defending SAC regular season champion Anderson at No. 5.
Carson-Newman and Anderson each received one first-place vote in the poll.
Lenoir-Rhyne is No. 6 in the poll, followed by No. 7 Tusculum, No. 8 Catawba, No. 9 Brevard and No. 10 Mars Hill.