Falcons, Spartans top men's basketball poll
Concordia Wisconsin and Aurora were picked atop the 2011-12 Northern Athletics Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Falcons were picked to repeat in the North Division, while the Spartans were tabbed to take the South title.
The Falcons received 64 points and seven first-place votes and edged out Edgewood's 63 points and five first-place votes for the top spot in the North.
Lakeland was the lock for third with 52 points, 19 ahead of Marian's 33, Wisconsin Lutheran's 23 and Maranatha's 17.
In the South, Aurora received eight-of-12 first-place votes for 68 points, in front of last season's champ, Benedictine (63 points, 4 first-place votes).
MSOE (46) was tabbed third, followed by Concordia Chicago (30), Dominican (26) and Rockford (19).
The CUW Falcons are coming off a perfect conference-regular season (16-0), but have some unfinished business after losing a pair of home games to end the season--a NAC Tournament semifinal game to Edgewood (95-89) and a NCAA Tournament first-round game to Luther (68-61).
CUW (23-5 overall) returns Luke Doedens (6-5, Sr., F, 14.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Mitchell Schneider (6-3, Sr., G, 14.3 ppg, 1.9 apg), a pair of second-team all-conference players from last season, but will miss its first-teamer, Edward Newton-Kemp (16.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.3 apg) going into the new season.
The Aurora Spartans (15-12, 9-7 NAC), winners of four of the last five conference championships, return a solid cast from last season's semifinal team including All-NAC second-teamer and the team's leading scorer Mike Bumber (6-2, Jr., G, 15.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 apg) and Co-Freshman of the Year Scott Laskowski (6-5, So., F, 14.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.2 bpg).
Eight teams open regular-season play on Nov. 15, while defending champion Benedictine (21-8, 13-3) plays at Division I Loyola-Chicago in a preseason exhibition on Saturday, Nov. 5.
The 2012 NAC Tournament takes place Feb. 21-25, with tournament winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA III Championship Tournament and the title of NAC Champion.
2011-12 Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Concordia Wisconsin (7), 64
2. Edgewood (5), 63
3. Lakeland, 52
4. Marian, 33
5. Wisconsin Lutheran, 23
6. Maranatha, 17
1. Aurora (8), 68
2. Benedictine (4), 63
3. MSOE, 46
4. Concordia Chicago, 30
5. Dominican, 26
6. Rockford, 19
first-place votes in parentheses
voted by the conference's 12 head coaches
6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale used for each division