MADISON, N.J. – Coming off two straight seasons as a postseason participant The Catholic University of America has been picked to take the next step and earn the Landmark Conference Men's Basketball Championship as selected in the Landmark Preseason Men's Basketball Poll. The head men's basketball coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
In an extremely tight voting, the Cardinals claimed the top spot with 77 points barely edging the United States Merchant Marine Academy which was second with 74 points. The University of Scranton finished just six points behind with 68 points in third place. Susquehanna University with 54 points rounds out the top half of the poll.
Catholic returns all five of its regular starters from the team that went 18-9 overall and 10-4 in conference to reach the Landmark postseason. Jason Banzhaf is a three-time All-Conference selection and is joined by returning All-Conference guard R.J. Dixon on the team that lost only one senior to graduation.
Coming off a Landmark Championship season when the Mariners went 24-5 and 12-2 in conference play USMMA looks for another title with new Head Coach Danny Nee. The team lost a pair of All-Conference players but bring back All-Conference seniors Matt Hueber and Tim Izzo to lead the team.
Scranton made its third trip to the Landmark Championship after winning the first two conference titles. Four starters return from last year's 18-9 season, and though they lost an All-Conference post player they welcome back Landmark Player of the Year and All-Region pick Zach Ashworth.
Susquehanna has reached the Landmark postseason each of the first three years after posting a 15-11 mark last year and going 8-6 in conference. All-Conference guard Spenser Spencer, the 2008-09 Landmark Rookie of the Year highlights the returnees for the team that must replace two departed senior starters.
Goucher College holds down the fifth place in the poll with 44 points. The Gophers finished one spot out of the postseason last year, finishing 7-17 overall and 5-9 in Landmark action. The team will return four of five starters from last season including their top two scorers Shane Yambor and Micah Perry.
Twenty-nine points gave Juniata College the sixth spot in the poll, three points ahead of the seventh-place team. The Eagles lost a two-time All-Conference guard to graduation after a 9-16 season and have to replace another starter but have Alex Raymond back who led the team in assists and was second in scoring.
Moravian College is seventh in the poll with 26 points and All-Conference performer Chris Cullen is one of four returning starters from the team that finished 7-18 a year ago. The Greyhounds did lose an All-Conference forward but lost only two seniors and have 11 players returning from a year ago.
Drew University finished eighth in the voting with 17 points after the team raised its win total in conference and finished 7-18 overall last year. The team lost one senior to graduation and has Landmark Rookie of the Year Terrell Brown leading a team of primarily juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
The 2010-11 season gets underway with four games on November 15. The first weekend of Landmark play will be December 4 with all eight teams facing off with their local rival.