Oct. 28, 2009

Courtesy of NABC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two teams that came within a point of advancing to the Elite Eight last season head up the NABC/Division II pre-season coaches poll for the 2009-10 season, which gets underway this weekend with the first of the two Disney Tip-Off Classics in Anaheim, Calif.

BYU-Hawaii, which lost by a point to eventual national runner-up Cal Poly Pomona in the West Regional finals, was picked as No. 1 in the pre-season.  The Seasiders have one of the top players in the Division II ranks back in forward Lucas Alves, who averaged nearly 20 points a game in earning All-America honors as a junior.

The Seasiders are followed by Bellarmine, who dropped a one-point decision to NCAA Division II champion Findlay in the title game of the Midwest Regional last March.  The Knights bring back a talented roster and were picked to win the East Division in the Great Lakes Valley Conference this season.

Southwest Baptist is third in the pre-season poll follwed by defending national champion Findlay and another team from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, defending regional champion Central Missouri.

The next five is headed by Cal Poly Pomona – who dropped the national championship game on a buzzer shot last season – Valdosta State, Florida Southern Bentley and Augusta State.

The 11-through-15 spots in the poll are held by St. Cloud State, Metropolitan State, Grand Valley State, Tusculum and Merrimack, while the next five are occupied by Kutztown, Central Oklahoma, Indiana (Pa.), Johnson C. Smith and Winona State.  Humboldt State heads the group in the final five slots, followed by Southwest Minnesota State, Northern Kentucky, Delta State and Rollins.

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