UCCS Picked Ninth in Preseason Poll
A year ago, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team overcame a dismal 0-7 start, rallying to finish with a 10-9 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and qualifying for the conference playoffs for only the third time in school history. Coming into the 2009-10 season, the Mountain Lions lost only two players to graduation from that team and added a strong recruiting class.
All that should be reason for optimism.
But not according to the RMAC coaches who will be playing against UCCS this season.
The Mountain Lions were picked to finish fifth in the RMAC's Eastern Division and ninth overall by the RMAC preseason coaches' poll. No UCCS player was selected for the RMAC's preseason all-conference team.
The coaches ranked conference teams from 1-13, omitting their own team. The points were then added to determine the predicted finish with the lowest point total being the top pick. New Mexico Highlands, coming off a tremendous 20-8 season and returning three preseason all-conference selections (Roman Andrade, Chris Dunn and Rashard Peterson) was the top pick by RMAC coaches with 22 points. Metro State was tabbed to win the East Division and take second overall with 27 points.
Those two division leaders were followed by Fort Lewis (42), Mesa State (50), Colorado Christian (61), Nebraska-Kearney (78), Colorado State-Pueblo (86) and Colorado School of Mines (88).
UCCS led the teams on the outside of the eight-team playoff field with 124 points, followed closely by Regis (125), Western State (132), Western New Mexico (135), Chadron State (148) and Adams State (160).
UCCS coach Russ Caton, who has guided the Mountain Lions to the playoffs in two of his three seasons at the school, returns a strong core. Guards Ben Feilmeier, Jordan McClung and Scott Sublousky averaged 9.6, 8.9 and 8.5 points respectively. Forward Cole Smith was named third-team All-RMAC East Division despite playing much of the season with a painful leg injury. Forward Chris Fernandez averaged 7.1 points per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field, including 39.5 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore center Tommy Klausner was a force as a freshman, averaging 14.4 rebounds per 40 minutes, a total a full two rebounds better than anybody else in the RMAC.
Defensive-minded swingman Alex Snyder, a senior, also returns along with former quarterback Luke Hristou and promising Rob Howe and Levi Harris.
To that group, Caton added two transfers, Brent Jones and Eric Gardzina, plus a pair of freshmen, Adam Link and Damar Hill, both of whom could see significant playing time immediately.
The Mountain Lions will play exhibition games against two Division I teams, Weber State and Idaho, on Monday and Tuesday before opening the season at home against Colorado College on Nov. 20.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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