Men's Basketball: Panthers picked first in USA South preseason coach's poll

Men's Basketball: Panthers picked first in USA South preseason coach's poll

The LaGrange men's basketball team was picked to capture the USA South Athletic Conference men's basketball title for the 2016-17 season in the preseason coaches' poll as announced by the conference office. It is the first time a LaGrange basketball team is the preseason conference favorite since the school became a NCAA Division III member.

Last season, the Panthers reached the finals of the USA South Tournament championship and played in the the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third consecutive year. LC received four of 11 first place votes and 90 points as head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.

Coach Kendal Wallace, now entering his sixth year, guided LaGrange to a 20-9 record last season. It was the first 20-win season for the Panthers since the 1992-93 season. LC returns three of its top five scorers, including All-Conference guard Justyn Olson. Olson averaged 16.7 points per game to lead the team. Also returning are junior Alex Bonner (12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg), and senior Drew Vanderbrook (11.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg).

The men's basketball regular season gets underway on Tuesday, Nov. 15 as many of the conference's 11 teams are in action, including the Panthers. LC will host Pensacola Christian in Mariotti Gym at 7 p.m. that night.

The 2017 USA South Tournament will once again head to campus sites as the top-seeded team will host all three rounds of the tournament. The tournament will begin on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 and conclude on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The top-eight seeded teams after the conclusion of regular season competition will advance to the tournament.

 

2016-17 USA South Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll

Rank

Institution (1st Place Votes)

Pts.

1.

LaGrange (4)

90

2.

Piedmont (1)

77

3.

Covenant (3)

70

4.

Maryville (1)

69

t-5.

Greensboro

59

t-5.

William Peace

59

7.

N.C. Wesleyan (1)

55

8.

Averett (1)

48

9.

Ferrum

46

10.

Huntingdon

20

11.

Methodist

12