AUGUSTA, Ga. – The North Georgia College & State University men's basketball team has been selected 11th out of 14 teams in the Peach Belt Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll released by the conference office Thursday afternoon.
Last year's national runner-up the University of Montevallo has been chosen as the preseason favorite by just two points over Augusta State University. The Falcons received five first-place votes, one second-place, two third-place and four fourth-place nods to edge the Jaguars who were given seven first-place votes, three second-place nods and a fifth-place vote.
The University of North Carolina Pembroke, the University of South Carolina Aiken and Columbus State University rounded out the top-five in the preseason coaches poll. Clayton State University, Georgia College, Lander University, Georgia Southwestern State University and Francis Marion University completed the top-10 while North Georgia, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Young Harris College and Flagler College rounded out the voting.
The 2012-13 PBC landscape will have a slightly different look than in years past. For the first time since the 2008-09 season every team in the league will play the same amount of conference games. That is thanks to the addition of Young Harris, who begins their first year of league membership and provides balance to the divisions as they become the seventh team in the west.
The men's basketball season begins on Nov. 9 with league play getting underway in mid-December. The season goes on through the PBC Tournament March 7-10, 2013, at Columbus State University.
A year ago, North Georgia went 10-18 overall with a 5-12 record in the extremely tough PBC which included opening the season by winning four of their first five games. But the tone of the season changed from there as the Saints went 1-11 away from Memorial Hall Gymnasium and were just 8-7 within the friendly confines of their home court.
There is plenty of experience on the roster that could step up and lead the team this season. Not only are there nine returners who have at least one year of experience in the Saints' basketball program, there are also five players with collegiate experience including two NCAA Division I transfers.
To succeed in 2012-13, the Saints will have to get comfortable on the road as their season starts with so many road contests including their first two games at the Newberry College Tournament on Friday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 10. They then get the chance to play two home games with a road trek to Anderson sandwiched in between but then comes a stretch of four straight away games in December to close out the 2012 portion of the season.
Along with being on the road for most of the first portion of the season, the Saints have four teams on their schedule that played in the national tournament last season including the national runner-up, the University of Montevallo. Also advancing to the tourney last season were USC Aiken, Anderson and Columbus State.
The 2012-13 preseason coaches poll can be found HERE. Teams were given 13 points for a first-place vote, 12 for a second and so on. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own team.