LAS CRUCES – Following a record-setting season, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team was unanimously selected as the favorite to repeat as Western Athletic Conference Champions in both the Preseason Coaches’ and Media Polls, the league announced on Wednesday.
Following the announcement head coach Chris Jans said, “When a program returns nine guys who played double figure minutes on a team that won some games you are bound to receive some preseason nods. Although, it doesn’t help with the upcoming season in terms of wins and losses. Our kids understand that and will continue to strive to get better as we all prepare for the upcoming season.”
NM State returns nine players from 2018-19 who played at least 10 minutes per game, seven of whom are seniors, making the Aggies one of the oldest and most experiences squads in college basketball. The Aggies also add some much-welcomed firepower to a team already looking to return to the Big Dance.
Being selected to finish first in both the coaches’ and media polls marks the sixth season out of the last seven that the Crimson and White have been chosen as the outright favorite. NM State comes into the 2019-20 season after posting eight-straight campaigns with 20 or more wins and seven appearances in the last eight NCAA Tournaments.
In the media poll the Aggies received all 20 first-place votes, totaling 252 points to earn the top spot. Grand Canyon was picked to finish second with 220 points. Seattle U was picked third with 158 points, edging out UT Rio Grande Valley in fourth place with 155 points. California Baptist was selected to finish fifth with 134 points, just ahead of Utah Valley in sixth place with 133 points. CSU Bakersfield was picked seventh with 109 points, while Kansas City was selected eighth with 67 points. Chicago State rounded out the poll in ninth place with 32 points.
NM State also ran away with the coaches’ poll where head coaches could not vote for their own team. The Aggies received 64 points and all of the eight possible first-place votes to earn the top spot. Grand Canyon captured second place with 57 points and one first-place vote. Seattle U was third with 43 points, followed by UT Rio Grande Valley in fourth place with 39 points. California Baptist was picked to finish fifth with 34 points, while CSU Bakersfield and Utah Valley tied for sixth place with 30 points apiece. Kansas City was eighth with 16 points, while Chicago State rounded out the poll with 11 points.
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