DURANT, Okla. — Following a performance which included a run to the second round of the Central Region Tournament, the Southeastern Oklahoma State men’s basketball team has been named the favorite to win the Great American Conference, according the league’s preseason poll.
The Savage Storm edged out Southern Nazarene for the top spot, earning 118 points and eight of the 12 first-place votes.
SNU was second with 114 points and the remaining four first-place votes and Oklahoma Baptist was third with 88 points, just ahead of Henderson State in fourth and Southern Arkansas in fifth.
East Central was picked sixth, followed by Arkansas-Monticello and Arkansas Tech.
Ouachita Baptist was next in line in ninth, while Harding, Northwestern Oklahoma State, and Southwestern Oklahoma State round out the poll.
Southeastern returns four of its top five scorers, led by GAC Player of the Year and All-American selection Kevin Buckingham, who averaged 21.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a year ago.
Kellen Manek averaged 13.5 points and Adam Dworsky averaged 10.7 points and a team-best 5.3 assists.
The Storm finished last season with a 23-8 record, 16-6 mark in GAC play and earned its first NCAA Division II regional bid since the 2006-07 season.
Southeastern will play an exhibition contest at Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 before opening the season officially at the GAC/NSIC Challenge in Bethany, Okla., Nov. 8 with a rematch against Northern State at 3:30 p.m.