Wooster Men and Denison Women Favored as NCAC Preps for 27th Basketball Campaign
Wooster's men and Denison's women were tabbed as the favorites in the preseason voting by the coaches of the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Six-time defending NCAC champion Wooster topped Wittenberg in the men's balloting by a 10-point margin after picking up eight of nine possible first-place votes to total 80 points. The Tigers were second with 70 points and the remaining first-place vote. Ohio Wesleyan was third with 56 points, with Wabash just a point behind in fourth. Hiram totaled 48 points for the fifth spot in the poll, while Denison (37), Allegheny (27), Kenyon (18) and Oberlin (14) rounded out places sixth through nine.
The Fighting Scots return 10 letter winners and four starters from a team that went 25-6 and won the NCAC Tournament. The Scots look to senior guards Ian Franks (Greenwich, OH/South Central) and Nathan Balch (Westerville, OH/Olentangy) and senior forward Bryan Wickliffe (Columbus, OH/St. Charles Prep) for leadership. All three were All-NCAC performers a season ago. Franks was the North Coast's Player of the Year, while Balch was the conference tournament MVP.
Defending NCAC tournament champion Denison took four of eight first-place votes for 58 points in the women's coaches' poll to edge Ohio Wesleyan by two points. The Battling Bishops were second with 56 points and two first-place votes. Defending conference champion Wittenberg received a first-place vote and was tabbed third with 46 points, followed closely by Kenyon in fourth with 45 points and the remaining first-place vote. Allegheny (32), Oberlin (20), Wooster (17) and Hiram (14) rounded out the women's poll in positions five through eight.
The Big Red return 13 letter winners and all five starters from a team that won its sixth NCAC tourney crown after entering the tournament as the third seed. Denison compiled a 21-8 record a year ago. Senior Shaina Kaiser (Ostrander, OH/Buckeye Valley) is a two-time first-team All-NCAC player. She was the conference's Player of the Year two seasons ago and the tournament MVP last winter.
The 2010-11 season begins on Monday, November 15. The NCAC Tournament will be held at the end of February with the men's and women's semifinals and finals at the site of the respective high seeds on Feb. 25-26.