UU men picked to finish 11th in MEC


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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – West Liberty has been picked to win its third straight Mountain East Conference men’s basketball title after a vote conducted by the league’s coaches.

Urbana University was picked to finish 11th in the 12-team league.

West Liberty, which will enter the season ranked No. 3 in the country by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), garnered 10 of 12 first-place votes after finishing 28-4 last season. WLU returns senior Seger Bonifant, the 2015 MEC Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, who averaged 22.8 points per game and made 52 percent of his shots from behind the arc a season ago to help lead WLU to its third-straight NCAA Atlantic Region championship game appearance. West Liberty also returns All-MEC second team selection Devin Hoehn.

Fairmont State was picked to finish second with 106 points, followed by Wheeling Jesuit in third with 97 points and one first-place vote. WJU brings back the 2015 MEC Freshman of the Year Pat Moseh, along with All-MEC honorees Eric Siefert and Justin Fritts.

Concord, led by 2015 MEC Coach of the Year Kent McBride, was tabbed fourth with 86 points, just ahead of Charleston in fifth with 83 points. Glenville State, last year’s MEC Tournament champion, was picked sixth (77), followed by Notre Dame in seventh (54). The Falcons had the remaining first-place vote.

West Virginia Wesleyan (52), Shepherd (47), West Virginia State (36), UU (22) and UVa-Wise (12) round out the poll.

The poll was released on Tuesday at the Mountain East Conference Media Day at the Bridgeport Conference Center.

UU women picked last

The West Liberty Hilltoppers have been picked to win the 2016 Mountain East Conference women’s basketball championship after a vote conducted by the league’s coaches.

The UU women’s team was picked to finish 12th in the 12-team league.

West Liberty finished atop the poll with 114 points and seven first-place votes. The Hilltoppers earned a share of the MEC regular season title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago, and bring back starters Kailee Howe, Liz Flowers, Kierra Simpson and Emily Bucon. WLU is ranked 12th in the D2Bulletin.com preseason poll.

Charleston, which also earned a share of the MEC regular season title last year, was picked to finish second with 107 points and three-first place votes. The Golden Eagles return Chyress Lockhart, who missed last season with an injury, to go with returners Kiara Johnson and Monet Saunders.

Wheeling Jesuit was picked to finish third with 93 points, just ahead of Notre Dame. The Falcons, who secured the remaining two first-place votes, return the MEC Player of the Year in Martha Nagbe.

Fairmont State was picked fifth (85), followed by Shepherd in sixth (68). The Rams, led by 2015 MEC Coach of the Year Jenna Eckleberry, earned a share of the MEC regular season championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. UVa-Wise was tabbed seventh (55) and Glenville State was slotted eighth (53). Concord (38), West Virginia State (37), West Virginia Wesleyan (32) and UU (14) rounded out the poll.

The poll was released on Tuesday at the Mountain East Conference Media Day at the Bridgeport Conference Center.

The women’s basketball season begins on Friday, Nov. 13.

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