Thomasville, NC- Mount Olive College sits atop the 2005-2006 preseason poll as voted on by the conference coaches. Mount Olive begins the season ranked No. 5 in Street and Smith’s NCAA Division II Preseason Men’s Basketball Top 10 and No. 7 in the Division II Bulletin Preseason Top 25.
The Trojans return four starters and, according to Street and Smith’s preview, “perhaps the best sixth man in the nation” in Elton Coffield who was selected as a preseason All-American Honorable Mention member. The team is coming off of their best season in school history which made its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and its first-ever trip to the Elite Eight. Mount Olive shattered a school single-season wins record with a 29-5 (18-2 CVAC) mark last season. Head Coach Bill Clingan adds, “Last year was a special season and I hope we can continue to build on that success, but we know we have to be ready to play every time we take the court. As always, every game in the conference is going to be a dogfight. I believe our league is as good as there is in Division II.”
Pfeiffer University moves down one spot from last years poll to place second in this year’s survey. The team returns eleven players that helped them win 27 games last year (27-5, 18-2 CVAC) that included the CVAC Tournament Championship, a piece of the Regular Season Championship, and the opportunity to host an NCAA Regional Championship where they advanced to the second round. The Falcons have some big shoes to fill with the graduation of two All-Americans from last years team, but believe that with their returning players they have substantial experience that other Falcon teams would be hard-pressed to match. The 2005-06 Falcons will again depend on help from a lot of different faces as they will likely continue the five at a time substitution pattern that has proved to be so successful the last two years.
Erskine College and Queens University of Charlotte finish in a dead tie for the third spot. Erskine who was 14-15 (10-10 CVAC) will strive to improve on three consecutive 14 win seasons under 7th year head coach Mark Peeler. Experience should be a strong point for the Fleet who return seven of their top eight players from last year. Within that group of players there is CVAC 1st Team Member Craig Williams and CVAC 2nd Team Member Reed Long.
Queens University of Charlotte looks to build on their13-15 (10-10 CVAC) campaign. The Royals return three starters from last year’s squad which finished 4th in the conference and support more depth, size and athleticism to continue to compete in the CVAC this year. Senior leadership will be vital to bring along nine new additions as the team begins to gel forward for desired postseason play.
Rounding out the men's poll 5-11 was: Barton, Limestone, Belmont Abbey, Anderson, Lees-McRae, St. Andrews, and Coker respectively.
CVAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll (# of First place votes in parenthesis)
1. Mount Olive College (8) 98
2. Pfeiffer University (3) 91
T-3. Erskine College 73
T-3. Queens University of Charlotte 73
5. Barton College 56
6. Limestone College 52
7. Belmont Abbey College 51
8. Anderson College 49
9. Lees-McRae College 30
10. St. Andrews Presbyterian College 18
11. Coker College 14