TOWSON, Md. – The Landmark Conference men's basketball preseason poll is just a snapshot of the fight at the top of the standings. The University of Scranton was picked atop the poll with four first place votes and 59 points. Last year's runner-up, Juniata College, earned two first place votes and 47 points while the 2013 Landmark Champion, Catholic University, was picked third with 43 points. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy was just behind the Cardinals with 42 points and the final two first place votes.
The same four teams made the Landmark playoffs last February and all three games were decided by 10 points or less. No. 3 Juniata knocked off No. 2 Scranton in double overtime to face top-seeded Catholic. The Cardinals used a basket in the final seconds to secure their first Landmark title.
The Royals (19-7, 10-4) enter the upcoming season with plenty of incentive, looking to reestablish themselves in the Landmark after last year's semifinal loss. Preseason honorable mention All-American Ross Danzig gives his dad, veteran Royal head coach Carl Danzig, plenty of options. His ability to play nearly every position on the court allows his father the opportunity to adjust his lineup depending on game situations and strength of opponent. Sophomore forward Brendan Boken stepped into the starting lineup last winter and establish himself as one of conference's top front court players, averaging 13.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Tommy Morgan is slated to start in the back court. He has scored in double figures in each of his last two seasons and his athleticism and jumping ability make him difficult to guard on the perimeter. Fellow senior guard Michael Barr is also back after tying for the team-lead in 3-point field goals made last season (37).
Juniata (21-9, 9-5) is loaded with experience this year. The Eagles return seven seniors hungry to get back to the Landmark Championship game. The team is bolstered by some valuable new players, expecting to do some special things and compete for another conference championship. The team's top three scorers are back including First Team All-Landmark selection Brian Scholly. Scholly led the team with 15.9 points per game a year ago and was even better in Landmark games with 17.4 points per game.
Catholic (25-4, 12-2) lost a lot of experience and leadership to graduation last year between Chris Kearney, Shawn Holmes and Nate Koenig. On the other hand, the Cardinals return Second Team All-Landmark selection Steve Limberiou and sophomore point guard Bryson Fonville. Fonville stepped in right away and started every game as a rookie while averaging more than four assists per game. Head Coach Steve Howes and his staff have recruited a talented group of newcomers looking to make an impact and help Catholic defend its championship.
The Mariners (14-12, 7-7) look to make the Landmark Conference Tournament for the second straight year after missing the playoffs in 2012. USMMA returns its front court that was among the NCAA leaders in blocked shots. Senior center Nick Sergio was a Second Team All-Landmark selection last season after ranking second on the team in scoring with 9.6 points per game and first in rebounds with 7.9 per game.
Susquehanna University (9-16, 5-9) was picked fifth in the poll with 24 points and Drew University (9-16, 3-11) was picked sixth with 19 points. Moravian College (14-12, 6-8) finished seventh with 15 points and Goucher College (6-18, 4-10) wrapped up with seven points for eighth place.
The 2013-14 season kicks off Friday, Nov. 15 with seven teams in action. Susquehanna will join the group with its first game Nov. 19.
The top four teams in the final regular season standings qualify for postseason play in the Landmark Conference Tournament. The top two seeds will host semifinals Feb. 26 with the highest remaining seed scheduled to host the championship Mar. 1. The conference champion will earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
|2013 Landmark Men's Basketball Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|