AUGUSTA, GA – The North Georgia men's basketball team has been picked to finish 10th in the race for the 2011 Peach Belt Conference Championship according to the league's preseason coaches poll released on Wednesday evening.
For the second time in the last three years, the USC Aiken was selected as the team to beat in the preseason poll of Peach Belt Conference head coaches. The Pacers received 10 of a possible 12 first-place votes to finish ahead of Augusta State, who was second.
Clayton State was third while Georgia College was fourth and Armstrong Atlantic State fifth. Montevallo is sixth in the poll with Flagler seventh and Francis Marion eighth. Georgia Southwestern, North Georgia, Lander, Columbus State and UNC Pembroke round out the voting. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
With the league broken down into East and West Divisions for the second consecutive year, the Saints find themselves ranked 5th in the west after a third place finish a year ago sent North Georgia to their third straight Peach Belt Conference tournament.
Senior guard Carl Taylor will be the only returning starter from last year's squad as the Conyers, Ga., native finished off last season in blistering style with double digit points in each of the last four games, including a 32-point performance in the first round of the PBC Tournament. He averaged 13.2 points per game and knocked down 72 three-pointers, including eight buckets from behind the arc in the season finale.
Pat Moynihan and Jon Nolton both saw significant minutes off the bench last season as the duo combined to average 8.4 points per game and will look to make an impact in their second year's with the program.
Head coach Chris Faulkner returns for his eighth season at the helm of the Saints after picking up his 100th victory at North Georgia last season with an 81-76 victory over league rival USC Aiken.
North Georgia opens their 2010-11 season on November 10, at Young Harris, with Peach Belt Conference play beginning on January 3, at Augusta State and continues through to the 2011 PBC Tournament March 1, 5-6 with the semifinals and finals being hosted once again by USC Aiken.