N.C. Wesleyan, Maryville Picked as USA South Men's Basketball Favorites

N.C. Wesleyan, Maryville Picked as USA South Men's Basketball Favorites

The USA South Athletic Conference's men's basketball coaches have released their 2018-19 preseason polls. Each divisional preseason poll only includes votes from coaches within that particular division-only. Head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.

Chosen as USA South East Division favorites was N.C. Wesleyan College, led by head coach John Thompson. The Battling Bishops are the defending East Division champions after posting a 13-3 League record. N.C. Wesleyan's season came to an end with a 16-11 overall record on a last-second basket in the semifinals of last year's USA South Tournament. The Battling Bishops received 22 total points and four first place votes in this year's preseason poll. Placing second with 20 points and the final two first place votes was Averett University. William Peace University finished third with 17 points while Pfeiffer University followed in fourth with 14 points. Greensboro College and Methodist University rounded out the poll, respectively.

Placing atop the USA South West Division poll was defending Conference Tournament champions, Maryville College, led by head coach Randy Lambert. Last fall, the Scots earned an overall 22-7 record with a 14-2 mark in USA South play which was good enough to claim the West Division championship. The tournament crown was the first for Maryville since joining the USA South. Additionally, the Scots recently were ranked 22nd in the D3hoops.com National Top-25 preseason poll. Maryville received 36 total points and six first place votes in this year's USA South preseason poll. LaGrange College grabbed 28 points and the final remaining first place vote to rank second. Placing in a third place tie in the poll with 22 points were Covenant College and Piedmont College. Huntingdon College, Berea College and Brevard College rounded out the poll, respectively.

The USA South welcomed Brevard and Pfeiffer last season as institutions reclassifying from NCAA Division II status. This year each of their teams are included in the preseason poll and eligible for regular season championship honors. Both Brevard and Pfeiffer still will not be eligible to qualify for the USA South Tournament and/or the NCAA Tournament until full NCAA Division III membership is established. 

The men's basketball regular season gets underway on Thursday, November 8 as Averett takes on Eastern Mennonite in non-League action.

The 2019 USA South Men's Basketball Tournament will once again be conducted exclusively on campus sites. The top-four seeded teams from each division will advance to the tournament.

 

2018-19 USA South Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
East Division
Rank Institution (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. N.C. Wesleyan^ (4) 22
2. Averett (2) 20
3. William Peace 17
4. Pfeiffer* 14 
5. Greensboro 12 
6. Methodist
*Ineligible for USA South Tournament (Div. III Reclassifying Member)
^Defending Division Champion
2018-19 USA South Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
West Division
Rank Institution (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Maryville^# (6) 36
2. LaGrange (1) 28 
t-3. Covenant 22
t-3. Piedmont 22 
5. Huntingdon 19
6. Berea 11 
7. Brevard* 9
*Ineligible for USA South Tournament (Div. III Reclassifying Member)
^Defending Division Champion
#Defending Tournament Champion