MELBOURNE, FL - After posting 21 wins a year ago and scoring a massive upset of top-seeded Morehouse in the first round of the NCAA South Regional, Florida Southern College men's basketball has been picked as the favorite to win Sunshine State Conference, the conference office announced on Thursday with the release of the SSC Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Moccasins were picked as a heavy favorite after receiving six of 11 first-place votes to finish with 95 total points. Florida Southern returns all five of its starters from last year, including the dynamic backcourt duo of Jonathan Lawton and Brett Hanson. Both players were all-conference selections a year ago, with Lawton earning regional recognition as an NABC second team all-district honoree.
Entering their fourth season under head coach Mike Donnell the Mocs return 89.3 percent of their total scoring from last season, including a combined 40.2 points per game from the duo of Lawton/Hanson.
"It's always exciting to start the year with high expectations," said Donnelly. "The Sunshine State Conference is such a tough league, so being voted first in the preseason coaches poll is great recognition for our players and program."
Barry snagged two first-place votes to finish second in the poll, while Eckerd, Lynn, and Nova Southeastern took the next three spots and earned one first-place vote each. The bottom half of the poll was rounded out by Palm Beach Atlantic, Rollins, Embry-Riddle and Saint Leo (T8), Tampa, and Florida Tech.
Florida Southern blew away all preseason expectations last season by finishing third in the SSC despite being selected ninth in the preseason coaches poll. The Moccasins will face Florida in an exhibition contest on Oct. 30 in Gainesville and open the regular season at home against West Alabama on Nov. 9.
Florida Southern (6)
Nova Southeastern (1)
Palm Beach Atlantic