The Southern Polytechnic State University men’s basketball team, under first-year head coach Jeffrey Pourchier, begins the upcoming season ranked sixth nationally, according to the 2012-13 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll released this week.
The panel of head coaches representing each of the NAIA conferences and unaffiliated groups also chose SPSU as the top team in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC), followed by Lee University (Tenn.), Loyola University (La.), Belhaven University, William Carey University (Miss.), the University of Mobile (Ala.) and Faulkner University (Ala.).
“It is an honor to be ranked in the Top 10, but preseason rankings are just that, the preseason,” Pourchier said. “It just shows you the tradition and history that Southern Poly has. We have a whole new team and a new coaching staff. Every man on this team is going to work to help us win.”
In the NAIA preseason rating, the Hornets received 208 points. Defending national champion Concordia University Irvine (Calif.) is the top-ranked squad in the nation (250 points) and is followed by Oklahoma Baptist University (242), Georgetown College (Ky.) (231), Robert Morris University (Ill.) (230) and Rogers State University (Okla.) (211). The entire poll can be viewed at naia.org.
SPSU, which finished last season 25-7 overall and 15-3 in the SSAC Eastern Division for second place, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2012 NAIA Division I national tournament and was ranked 11th in the country in the coaches’ postseason poll.
The team opens its 2012-13 campaign on Tues., Oct. 30, hosting a non-conference game with Point University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hornets Nest.
The first regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced on Dec. 4.