Men's Basketball: USA South preseason coaches poll picks Panthers to tie for fifth

Men's Basketball: USA South preseason coaches poll picks Panthers to tie for fifth

The USA South Athletic Conference has released its 2015-16 men's basketball preseason coaches poll. LaGrange was picked to tie for fifth in the poll and received a first place vote. 

The Panthers are the two-time USA South Tournament champions and coming off a 17-12 campaign, which included a second straight trip to the NCAA Division III national tournament.

The Panthers, under fifth-year coach Kendal Wallace, return five of their six leading scorers for the 2015-16 season. Senior Mark Wagner averaged 13.4 points per game, while leading the team in 3-point shooting and making 87.7 percent from the free throw line.

Junior Justyn Olsen averaged 10.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while Braxton Ford added 10.1 points per game. Sophomore Alex Bonner averaged 8.8 points as a freshman. Senior Mike White averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

The Panthers led the USA South in scoring for the second straight season, averaging 82.0 points per game. They ranked 14th in NCAA Division III in scoring.

Averett was picked to finish first in the preseason poll. N.C. Wesleyan was second, followed by Maryville, Greensboro, and the Panthers who tied with Piedmont for fifth. 

The men's basketball regular season gets underway on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 as three of the Conference's 11 teams are in action. The Panthers open their season Wednesday, Nov. 18 at Berry.

The 2016 USA South Tournament will once again head to campus sites as the top seeded team will host all three rounds of the tournament. The tournament will begin on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 and conclude on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. If the host institution's women's team also earns the right to host, the men's tournament will shift to Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 24-26. The top-eight seeded teams after the conclusion of regular season competition will advance to the tournament.

 

2015-16 USA South Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll

Rank

Institution (1st Place Votes)

Pts.

1.

Averett (9)

94

2.

N.C. Wesleyan

75

3.

Maryville

74

4.

Greensboro

67

t-5.

LaGrange (1)

64

t-5.

Piedmont

64

7.

William Peace (1)

63

8.

Methodist

40

9.

Ferrum

29

10.

Covenant

23

11.

Huntingdon

12