BEAVERTON, Oregon - Florida Southern Men’s Basketball opens the 2012-13 season ranked 15th in this year’s Division II Bulletin Preseason Top 25 Poll that was released on Friday, which is three days prior to the opening of practice.
The Division II Bulletin has selected a preseason Top 25 every year since 1991 and is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year.
FSC, who returns all five starters from last season’s 20-10 squad that won the Sunshine State Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA D-II Tournament for the fifth consecutive year, is one of two SSC teams ranked in the preseason poll and one of four teams from the South Region ranked.
Linc Darner, who is entering his seventh season at the helm of the Moccasins program, returns nine lettermen and adds five newcomers to his team's roster. Among the key returners for the Mocs are senior guard Seth Evans (Marseilles, Ill.), senior forward Brett Bailey (Davie, Fla.), junior guard Dominic Lane (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and sophomore guard Kevin Capers (Winter Haven, Fla.), who was named to the Division II Bulletin All-Freshman Team and earned SSC Freshman of the Year honors in 2011-12.
In addition to the Mocs, SSC foe Saint Leo (18-12 last season) opens the season ranked No. 23, while two-time defending South Region champion Alabama-Huntsville (29-4 last season), who is from the Gulf South Conference, is ranked No. 6 and Christian Brothers (25-7), who is also from the Gulf South Conference and defeated the Mocs in the first round of the South Regional last season in Huntsville, is ranked No. 13 in the preseason poll.
West Liberty (32-3 last season) opens the season as the team to beat as the Hilltoppers return all five starters and its entire eight-man rotation from last season’s Elite Eight team. Franklin Pierce (22-8 last season) is ranked second and the Ravens are followed by Findlay (24-7 last season) at No. 3, Washburn (25-8 last season) at No. 4 and Metro State (25-7 last season) rounds out the preseason Top 5.
Alabama-Huntsville is followed in the poll at No. 7 by Colorado Mines (29-3 last season), while defending NCAA D-II National Champion Western Washington (31-5) opens the year at No. 8, Bellarmine (29-4 last season) is at No. 9 and Seattle Pacific (23-8 last season) completes the Top 10 at No. 10.
Winona State (25-5 last season) opens the season ranked 11th and they are followed by Stonehill (25-8 last season) at No. 12 and Christian Brothers at No. 13. Bloomfield (26-8 last season) is ranked 14th, while following the Mocs at No. 16 is Montevallo (29-8 last season), who is the defending NCAA D-II National Runners-up and Southern Indiana (24-7 last season) is ranked 17th. Chico State (25-8 last season) is at No. 18 and they are followed by Northwest Missouri State (22-7 last season) at No. 19 and Indianapolis (20-9 last season) rounds out the Top 20.
The final five of the poll begins with Barton (20-10 last season) at No. 21, while Midwestern State (29-4 last season) is at No. 22 and Saint Leo opens at No. 23. East Stroudsburg (20-12 last season) and Lincoln Memorial (26-6 last season) are Nos. 24 and 25 respectively.
Along with releasing its Preseason Top 25 poll, the Division II Bulletin also released its previews of all the Division II conferences and its Preseason All-Americans.
In the SSC preview, the Mocs are tabbed to win the regular season title, while Saint Leo was picked second and Eckerd was tabbed to finish third. Evans, who averaged 18.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and shot 43 percent from the 3-point line, was tabbed as the SSC Preseason Player of the Year. Additionally, Evans, who started his collegiate career at Wisconsin-Green Bay before transferring to FSC, was also named an Honorable Mention Preseason All-American.
The Mocs, who open preseason practice on Oct. 15, will tip-off its 2012-13 season on Thursday, Nov. 15 with an 8:30 p.m. EDT game at Stillman College. FSC will host Saint Thomas in an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Jenkins Field House.
Complete 2012-13 Division II Bulletin Preseason Preview