ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team has been picked to finish second in the South Atlantic Conference this season in the SAC preseason coaches’ poll announced Wednesday. Along with that announcement, Vincent Bailey garnered preseason All-SAC first team honors, while Jake Troyli was elected to the second team.
The Railsplitters received two first-place votes and 73 total points in the poll. The coaches tabbed Wingate as the conference favorites, the Bulldogs received five first-place votes and 77 total points. Wingate is the defending SAC tournament champions, they went 21-12 last season and advanced to the regional semifinals of the Division II NCAA tournament.
Newberry College was selected third in the poll, receving one first-place vote and 62 points overall. The Wolves finished fourth in the regular season standings last season and advanced to the semifinals of the SAC Championship.
Carson-Newman also earned a first-place vote and placed fourth in the poll. The Eagles tallied 57 total points.
Defending regular season SAC champ Anderson University also received a first-place vote and was picked to finish fifth. Lenoir-Rhyne, Tusculum, Catawba, Brevard and Mars Hill round out the poll.
LMU is coming off a 26-6 season in which the Railsplitters finished second in the regular-season SAC standings and advanced to the semifinals of the SAC tournament. The Railsplitters also garnered their second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II tourney and advanced for the first time in school history with a win over King College.
Despite several key losses, the Railsplitters return eight of their top-11 scorers from last season. Bailey, an All-SAC second team pick last year, led the Railsplitters in 2011-12 with 10.9 points per game. The Jennings, Fla., native also ranked second on the team with 6.3 boards per contests. Bailey finished second in the league in field goal percentage with a .620 mark from the floor.
Troyli, a 6’10” senior forward from Largo, Fla., averaged 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season, his first with the Railsplitters. He finished with a .482 field goal percentage, fired 82 percent from the charity stripe, grabbed 19 steals and recorded 14 blocks.
Reigning SAC Player of the Year Denzail Jones of Anderson heads the preseason All-SAC first team. Jones finished fourth in the SAC in scoring last season at 17.5 points per game, leading the Trojans to the regional finals of the NCAA Division II tourney.
Carson-Newman’s Antoine Davis and Ishmael Sanders also made the preseason first team along with Newberry’s Dondray Walker, the reigning SAC Freshman of the Year. Wingate’s O’Dell Turner was the final selection to the first team after finishing third in the league in rebounding last season.
Along with Troyli, the preseason second team includes Lenoir-Rhyne’s Allan Jones, Catawba’s Tyrece Little, Newberry’s Quayshun Hawkins, Anderson’s Chandler Hash and Wingate’s Paidrick Matilus.
The Railsplitters will swing into action on Oct. 30, as they travel to Florida State for an exhibition match-up against the Seminoles. The first regular-season game will be Nov. 10 against Ohio Mid-Western. Conference play begins on Nov.28, as LMU visits Tusculum.