High Point, N.C. - The 2017-18 Men's Basketball Pre-Season Poll was released on November 1 with the Limestone College Saints and Barton College Bulldogs receiving the highest score in the polls.
Limestone and Barton tied in the polls for first place with 75 points each. Last season, the Limestone Saints won the Conference Carolinas Tournament Title as they defeated the King Tornado in a 76-70 final score. Their win in the tournament earned them a sixth-seed place in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Men's Basketball Tournament. The Saints advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament before being eliminated by Lincoln Memorial to conclude their 2016-17 season. They ended their season with a 27-6 record. The Barton Bulldogs finished the 2016-17 season with a 20-9 record. The Bulldogs advanced to the Conference Carolinas Basketball Tournament Semifinals before falling to the Limestone Saints 95-66.
The King Tornado came in third in the pre-season poll with a score of 65. The Tornado advanced to the Conference Carolinas Tournament at the conclusion 2016-17. They made it to the championship before being defeated by the Limestone Saints in a 76-70 final. They concluded the season with a 19-12 record. They were closely followed in the poll by the University of Mount Olive Trojans with 62 points. The Trojans advanced to the quarterfinals before being defeated by the Barton Bulldogs. They ended the season with a 9-20 record.
The Belmont Abbey Crusaders took fifth in the pre-season poll after receiving a score of 52. The Crusaders advanced to the Conference Carolinas Tournament Quarterfinals before behind eliminated by the King Tornado in an 85-67 final. The Crusaders finished with a 14-15 overall record. Belmont Abbey is followed in the poll by the Lees-McRae Bobcats. The Bobcats finished the 2016-17 season with an 8-21 record to advance to the quarterfinals. However, the Saints took them out of the tournament in a 68-56 final to end their season.
The North Greenville University Crusaders, Erskine College Flying Fleet and Southern Wesleyan University Warriors held the final three spots in the poll. The Crusaders took seventh with a score of 36. NGU ended the 2016-17 campaign with a 10-18 overall record and 4-16 in Conference Carolinas play. The Erskine Flying Fleet came in at eighthin the poll with a score of 34. The Fleet advanced to the quarterfinals, but fell to the Pfeiffer Falcons in an 86-84 final to end the season with a 9-20 record. Southern Wesleyan comes in ninth in the pre-season poll for the 2017-2018 season. In their first season of post season eligibility in Conference Carolinas, the Warriors posted a 3-25 overall record and were 2-18 in Conference Carolinas.
"I am very optimistic about this group of guys," said Head Men's Basketball Coach Charles Wimphrie. "Preseason practice has been great. They are all locked in on the things on both ends of the court. The freshman class from two years ago are juniors and they have laid the foundation of ownership and culture of the program. The last two seasons have been tough for them, but this is going to be special, being my final season. The team appears confident and ready to compete on this level. I'm looking forward to an exciting campaign."
This will be Coach Wimphrie's last season as the head coach as he will retire at the conclusion of the year. His retirement will end 30+ years of devotion to the SWU family. Southern Wesleyan will celebrate him and his accomplishments throughout the 2017-2018 season. The Warriors have honored with a floor dedication earlier this year to kick off the celebrations.
Southern Wesleyan will open their 2017-18 campaign at Anderson where they will take on Trojans on November 10 at 7:30 p.m. Their home opener will be held against the Bob Jones Bruins on November 16th at 7:30. Southern Wesleyan's first Conference Carolinas match-up will be held in Historic Tysinger Gymnasium on November 21st at 7:30 p.m. as the Warriors take on the Emmanuel College Lions.