For the second consecutive season, the Merrimack College men’s basketball program was selected to finish second in the Northeast Division of the Northeast-10 Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the league offices on Thursday.
The Warriors received two first-place votes and 95 points total to trail only preseason-favorite Saint Anselm (111) in the division predictions. Merrimack finished with 20 victories last season – the first 20-win season for the program in nearly a decade – and advanced farther than the Hawks in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
Bentley University (86), Stonehill (78) and Southern New Hampshire (56) landed in spots No. 3-5 to complete the predicted playoff field out of the Northeast. Assumption (40), Franklin Pierce (39) and Saint Michael’s (27) rounded out the field, ranking in sixth-eighth, respectively.
On the opposite site, Southern Connecticut earned nine first-place tallies to edge out crosstown rival New Haven to sit in the Southwest Division’s top spot. The Chargers received three first-place votes and 77 points overall to rank in second, while Le Moyne (71) and Saint Rose (67) split the remaining votes for top billing. Adelphi (43), American International (38) and Pace (24), claimed spots No. 5-7 in the Southwest.
The Warriors return over 80 percent of their scoring from last season, and seven players who averaged at least 14.0 minutes per game. Merrimack will host the East Region Conference Challenge to begin the 2018-19 campaign, playing Holy Family (Nov. 10) and Jefferson (Nov. 11).