ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman's men's basketball team has been slated for a fourth place finish in the league in the preseason coach's poll.
The Eagles garnered 57 points, including one first place vote. Wingate was picked to win the league with 77 points and five first place votes.
"It's nice to think that we've earned some respect," Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "But as we told our guys, the day that this poll came out, was the day we tore it up and threw it in the garbage. We are focused on the preseason and getting ready legitimately."
"We're focused on getting everyone on the same page," Benson said. "We're thinking about improvement and the process of getting everybody ready for the season."
Carson-Newman finished 2012 with a 15-14 record and an 8-10 mark in the league - good for a fifth place finish. The Eagles return all five starters from last season's squad.
"(Wingate and LMU) have both established themselves not only in our league and our region, but also nationally. It's those two teams at the top of our league and then a bunch of us vying to be there with them. We're just hoping to be there with them in the end."
Wingate got hot late, winning the SAC Tournament championship and advancing to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championship.
Just behind Wingate in the preseason poll was Lincoln Memorial, which garnered two first-place votes. The Railsplitters went 26-6 overall last season, and their 14-4 SAC record was the league's second-best.
LMU earned an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championship, advancing to the regional semifinals before falling to eventual regional champion Montevallo.
The Eagles start exhibition play Nov. 3 at East Tennessee State.
When Carson-Newman takes to the court for regular season play against Lees-McRae in Banner Elk, N.C. on Nov. 12, Benson's boys will be playing for the program's 1000th all-time victory.
All men's basketball games will be broadcast on 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM Sevierville). Free audio will be available for road games on cneagles.com, with pay-per-view video available for contests inside Holt Fieldhouse.
2012-13 SAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll
Team Points (1st-place votes)
1. Wingate 77 (5)
2. Lincoln Memorial 73 (2)
3. Newberry 62 (1)
4. Carson-Newman 57 (1)
5. Anderson 54 (1)
6. Lenoir-Rhyne 43
7. Tusculum 30
8. Catawba 28
9. Brevard 14
10. Mars Hill 12