Storm hoops teams picked to win divisions

Herald Democrat

Both the Southeastern Oklahoma State men’s and women’s basketball teams were picked to win the Great American Conference’s Western Division in their league’s respective preseason polls for when the season starts in January.

With the schedule adjustments due to COVID-19, the league will be competing in a division format this season with the six Oklahoma-based schools making up the Western Division, while the Eastern Division consists of the Arkansas-based schools.

The men’s basketball team collected 24 points in the poll, highlighted by four first-place votes. Southeastern is coming off its second-straight NCAA Central Region berth as a No. 3 seed after posting a 23-8 record and earning the No. 2 seed in the GAC tournament.

Oklahoma Baptist was second in the division with 21 points and two first-place votes, followed by Southern Nazarene with 16 points. Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southwestern Oklahoma State were tied for fourth while East Central was sixth in the poll.

The Storm also picked up eight of the possible 12 votes as the favorite to take home the overall GAC title, with SNU next with two votes, followed by Henderson State and Southern Arkansas with one each.

SAU was the favorite in the Eastern Division with four first-place votes, while HSU was second with two.

Arkansas Tech and Arkansas-Monticello were tired for third, while Ouachita Baptist and Harding rounded out the division.

The women’s basketball team was tied with Southwestern Oklahoma State as the division favorite. Both earned 23 points and three first-place votes.

Southeastern earned a regular season and a GAC Tournament Championship a season ago with a 22-7 record, earning a berth in the NCAA Central Regional before the season was ended prematurely.

Southern Nazarene was voted third in the poll with 17 points, just ahead of East Central with 13. Oklahoma Baptist checks in fifth, while Northwestern Oklahoma State is in sixth.

Southeastern and Harding were also tied for the overall championship nod with four votes apiece, with Arkansas Tech and SWOSU each receiving two votes as well. The Bison were picked atop the Eastern Division with the Golden Suns a close second.

Henderson State was third, followed by Southern Arkansas, Arkansas-Monticello, and Ouachita Baptist.

The teams are slated to open the season on Jan. 7 with each division playing a 20-game schedule against the teams in its division before meeting for the GAC Tournament in March.

Southeastern is set to face Oklahoma Baptist in Shawnee, Okla., on Jan. 7 with the first home game set for Jan. 11 against East Central.