Men's basketball slated to finish seventh in SAC preseason poll

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The John Brown University men's basketball team has been predicted to finish seventh among the 12 teams in the Sooner Athletic Conference in 2017-18, according to votes cast by the league head coaches on Thursday morning (Oct. 12).

The Golden Eagles finished last season with a 7-11 conference record, ending the season eighth of 10 teams, which the conference coaches correctly predicted in the 2016-17 edition of the preseason poll. JBU was particularly tough at home, where it posted a 4-5 SAC mark, but finished the year 3-6 away from Bill George Arena.

Defending NAIA Division I men's basketball champion Texas Wesleyan was chosen to win the 2017-18 league basketball crown. The Rams finished last season with a 29-7 record under coach Brennen Shingleton and had 11 first place votes, the most possible. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Oklahoma City, an NAIA national tournament qualifier last year, was picked second in the poll with 119 points. The national champions from two seasons ago, Mid-America Christian, was selected third with 106 points while defending SAC tournament winner Science & Arts was fourth with 103 points.

Wayland Baptist was the fifth-place pick with 90 points and Southwestern A.G. was sixth with 81 points while St. Gregory's was eighth with 59 points and Southwestern Christian with 49 points was ninth. Conference newcomers Central Christian and Oklahoma Panhandle tied for 10th while Bacone finished 12th.

Each Sooner Athletic team will play a 22-game league schedule, with each squad taking on the other 11 a home-and-home matchup during the conference slate. The conference season kicks off on Thursday (Nov. 30) as the Golden Eagles welcome St. Gregory's to Bill George Arena for an 8 p.m. tip.

The SAC season will conclude with the tournament that features the top eight teams from the regular season, competing in a single-elimination format, with the quarterfinals set to begin on Feb. 27, 2018. The winners of the high-seed-hosts quarterfinals will move on to Siloam Springs, Ark. for semifinal and championship action from March 1-3.

The Sooner Athletic tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championships to be held in Kansas City, Mo. at the historic Municipal Auditorium from March 14-20, 2018.

The Golden Eagles open the season at Bill George Arena when it welcomes Ecclesia (Ark.) in the 37th annual Toilet Paper Game at 8 p.m. on Nov. 4.

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