PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Runner-up in the Mid-South Conference last season, the University of Pikeville men’s basketball team picks up right where it left off after being voted to finish second in the MSC Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Tuesday.
The league’s head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team as defending national champion Georgetown (Ky.) earned six first-place votes to come out as the preseason favorite.
UPIKE claimed three of the 10 available first-place votes as they enter the season with just one returning starter after a 26-7 campaign and 15-5 mark in MSC play.
Josh Whitaker started 30 games in 2012-13, but averaged just 7.4 points per game. The Bears will surround him with a host of newcomers, including Long Beach State (Calif.) high-scoring transfer Keala King and Xavier (Ohio) post transfer Chris Cantino.
Returner Elisha Justice will also be counted on to help run the offense as a senior after the loss of leading scorer Jamar Briscoe. Justice emerged as a contributor late last season, scoring a season-best 18 points in an MSC Tournament win over Georgetown.
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), a national semifinalist in 2012-13, rounds out the top three and claims the last first-place nod. Campbellsville (Ky.) is next in fourth place, followed by Cumberlands (Ky.), St. Catharine (Ky.) and Shawnee State (Ohio).
Cumberland (Tenn.) is picked to finish eighth, Bluefield (Va.) is at No. 9 and Rio Grande (Ohio) closes out the poll.
UPIKE takes to the court for the first time at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday against Athletes in Action at the East Ky. Exposition Center.