Saint Francis ranked no. 1 in NAIA preseason poll

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – For the second time in the 53-year history of the University of Saint Francis men’s basketball program, the Cougars will start the 2016-17 season with the largest target on their back – NO. 1.

USF received 10 of the 12 first-place votes and 311 ratings points.

USF opens the season on Fri., Oct. 28, at Hutzell Athletic Center at 8 p.m. against Cincinnati Christian University in the Northern Lakes Insurance Tournament. This will be the 26th season the HAC has hosted USF basketball since it opened in May 1990.

CCU finished 23-9 in 2015-16, is No. 31 in the preseason rating received votes and was an NAIA Championship qualifier after winning the River States Conference crown.­

Coach Chad LaCross’ seventh team was targeted early as the favorite to repeat as the Crossroads League champion back in September by a coaches vote. The Cougars rose to No. 1 in the final 2015-16 NAIA Coaches Division II Top 25 Poll in early March and advanced to the NAIA DII Championship Game before falling 69-66 to Indiana Wesleyan University.

USF was ranked No. 2 in the 2015-16 post-season Top 25, but with the return of NAIA All-American (third team) junior Bryce Lienhoop; 6-foot-9 senior Kyle Sovine; junior sharp-shooting guard Evan Henry and senior Kegan Comer as well as several more talented returnees as well as newcomers, the Cougars are poised for another impressive season after a 33-5 finish in 2015-16, 16-2 in CL play.

This is USF’s second preseason No. 1 ranking, the first since the Cougars were No. 1 in the 2010-11 Pre-season Top 25 coming off their first and only NAIA DII National Championship. The Cougars were also No. 1 in the final two polls of the 1999-00 season.

 

  • USF’s 38th consecutive Top 25 appearance, a program record for consecutive men’s basketball rankings.
  • This is USF’s 20th ranking in the Top 5
  • This is USF’s 37th ranking in the Top 10
  • This is USF’s 116th men’s basketball ranking
  • This is USF’s 10th NAIA Preseason Top 25 ranking

1999-00: 15

2000-01: 4

2004-05: 22

2006-07: 20

2009-10: 23T

2010-11: 1

2011-12: 13T

2014-15: 15

2015-16: 4

2016-17: 1

 

USF ranked No. 1 – 5 times

1999-00

Date                 USF                  Prev     1st         W-L      Pts

                        Rank                Poll      PVotes

  1. 2/15/00        1                      2          14         27-4      537
  2. 2/22/00        1                      1          17         28-4      545

 

2010-11

Date                 USF                  Prev     1st         W-L      Pts

                        Rank                Poll      PVotes

Pre  10/25/10     1                      15         13         28-9      432

 

2015-16

Date                 USF                  Prev     1st         W-L      Pts

                        Rank                Poll      PVotes

  1. 3/2/16          1                      2          12         29-4      312

 

2016-17

Date                 USF                  Prev     1st         W-L      Pts

                        Rank                Poll      PVotes

Pre  10/25/16     1                      2