College basketball season, unofficially, is less than two weeks away (with all the Madnesses and Hysterias and preseason warmups to get fans excited). But, the oven more unofficial season is already here, with coaches polls being released and early expectations being set, for better or for worse.
Conference USA released it's coaches poll today, and it's no surprise that the defending champs are on top of the heap.
C-USA preseason hoops poll 1 UAB 2 ODU 3 MTSU 4 UTEP 5 LaTech 6 WKU 7 Rice 8 UNT 9 Marshall 10 FIU 11 Charlotte 12 FAU 13 UTSA 14 USM— Sean Isabella (@ST_IsabellaTNS) October 7, 2015
UAB being number one isn't so much shocking as it was a matter of where they and Old Dominion would fall. MTSU, the conference's runner up last year, is picked to finish third and UTEP, although they'll be without Matt Willms for the season and Omega Harris for most (if not all of) non-conference play, rounds out the top four in the conference.
The biggest surprise for me (especially since I'm the Western Kentucky writer here for MMM) is the Hilltoppers being picked sixth. I was expecting them to fall in the 8-12 range, but while the Tops have lost a lot with George Fant, T.J. Price and Trency Jackson, they have Chris Harrison-Docks returning to run the point and have plenty of size with Justin Johnson, Ben Lawson and Alex Rostov returning. The Hilltoppers also have a large and potentially talented incoming group, lead by Aaron Cosby and Willie Carmichael.
Along with the preseason poll coming out, the CUSA coaches also unveiled the Preseason All-Conference squad:
Adrian Diaz, FIU
Alex Hamilton, LA Tech
Erik McCree, LA Tech
Ryan Taylor, Marshall
Reggie Upshaw Jr., Middle Tennessee
Trey Freeman, Old Dominion
Marcus Jackson, Rice
Robert Brown, UAB
William Lee, UAB
Earvin Morris, UTEP
If there's one surprise in the first team, it's the exclusion of Giddy Potts, who took the conference by storm last year and was named to the all-freshman team last year.
Which team surprised you in where they were picked to finish by the CUSA coaches? Which inclusion - or exclusion - in the Preseason All-Conference team took you by surprise? Let us know in a comment below or on twitter.