Fourteen Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference coaches agree, this year is going to be all Metro State.
Ask the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and they’ll disagree.
Metro State received 13 of the possible 14 votes to win the RMAC in Tuesday’s preseason poll, and senior forward Jonathan Morse was picked as both the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.
That other vote? Colorado School of Mines, the top-ranked team in the country, according to the NABC preseason poll.
Metro State, ranked 13th nationally before play begins, and Colorado Mines were the only teams to receive first-place votes in the RMAC preseason poll, and Morse and Western New Mexico senior forward Chad Carter were the only unanimous selections on the preseason All-RMAC roster.
Fort Lewis College checked in at No. 5, behind Metro, Mines, Colorado Mesa and Adams State. The Skyhawks were shut out on the All-RMAC ballot.
The FLC women’s basketball team, which features a new head coach this season, was slotted at No. 5 as well.
Metro State received 12 of the 14 first-place votes. CSU-Pueblo received a vote and was picked to finish second, and Colorado Christian, behind RMAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Christina Whitelaw, received the other first-place vote and was picked to finish third with Colorado Mesa.
Nationally, Metro State was ranked seventh in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll, while FLC received 84 votes of top-25 consideration but was ranked just outside the top 25.
“On paper, we did lose plenty when you talk about the top four scorers and top four rebounders,” first-year FLC head coach Jason Flores said in a news release to The Durango Herald. “However, we have good players in the program and have players who have been waiting their turn, which, in fact, comes now.
“We will be an exciting team as soon as we gain that experience, and we’re excited to see where we will be at the end of the year.”
Kelsey Sigl, a senior forward at Colorado Mesa, was named the RMAC Preseason Player of the Year. Both Sigl and Whitelaw were unanimous picks for the All-RMAC preseason team.
Katerina Garcia, a Durango High School alumna and the Skyhawks’ point guard, was the only FLC representative on the All-RMAC roster.
“Kat has persevered through a lot,” first-year FLC head coach Jason Flores said in a news release to The Durango Herald. “We’re hoping to have a great senior year out of her. She’s put in a lot of time and should reap the benefits from it.”
Both FLC teams will begin their exhibition schedules this weekend: The FLC men’s basketball team will play a pair of exhibitions against Westminster and Montana Western on Friday and Saturday in Salt Lake City; the FLC women’s basketball team will play an exhibition against New Mexico State on Friday in Las Cruces, N.M.