BALTIMORE, Maryland – The Colonial Athletic Association’s coaches, media relations directors and sports media have tabbed UNCW’s revamped men’s basketball team to finish eighth in the upcoming 2013-14 race.

The Seahawks open their fourth season under Buzz Peterson on Friday, Nov. 8, against Iowa inside black-and-gold Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  The annual poll was released Tuesday during the league’s annual Media Day in Baltimore, Md., just a three-point shot away from the new home of the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

“I don’t put a lot of stock in the preseason polls,” said Peterson. “We use it as motivation for our guys. It’s definitely chalkboard material.”

Towson, which returns four starters from last year’s 18-13 team, earned the top spot, followed by Drexel, CAA newcomer College of Charleston, Delaware, William & Mary, Northeastern, James Madison, UNCW and Hofstra.

Towson will try to build off a 2012-13 season that featured the biggest turnaround in NCAA history. The Tigers posted their most wins (13) and highest finish (tied 2nd) ever in CAA play. Senior forward Jerrelle Benimon made a big splash after transferring from Georgetown, earning CAA Player-of-the-Year and Honorable Mention All-America accolades after averaging 17.1 points per game and ranking third in the nation in rebounding with 11.2 rpg.

Drexel, meanwhile, should also be in the mix. The Dragons slipped to 13-18 last season after numerous injuries to key players, and are primed for another run at the CAA crown. The Dragons feature a pair of All-Conference performers in the backcourt in senior Frantz Massenat and junior Damion Lee.

To no one’s surprise, the workmanlike Benimon was selected CAA Preseason Player-of-the-Year. He was joined on the Preseason All-CAA First Team by Lee and Massenat, Delaware’s Devon Saddler, and William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton, who averaged 18.8 ppg and led the league in 3-point shooting last season.

Voted to the Preseason Second Team were the College of Charleston’s Adjehi Baru, Delaware’s Jarvis Threatt, Northeastern junior forward/guard Quincy Ford (12.2 ppg/5.8 rpg), James Madison sophomore guard Andre Nation (9.3 ppg), and William & Mary senior forward Tim Rusthoven (14.4 ppg/7.0 rpg).

It marks the first time UNCW has been chosen to finish eighth since the poll began in 2001-02. 

2013-14 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

 

1. Towson ; 2. Drexel; 3. College of Charleston; 4. Delaware; 5. William & Mary; 6. Northeastern; 7. James Madison; 8. UNCW 9. Hofstra