(HALIFAX, N.S.) – In a close vote by the conference’s head coaches, the two-time defending AUS champion Dalhousie Tigers edged out the Saint Mary’s Huskies by a four-point margin, in the 2016-17 men’s basketball pre-season coaches’ poll.
This marks the second year of the AUS pre-season coaches’ poll, which is voted on by the league’s eight head coaches, who rank the other seven teams and are not permitted to vote for their own team.
The Tigers, hosts of the 2017 U Sports Final 8 men’s basketball championship at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, received six first-place votes and 48 total points in this year’s poll. Dalhousie open the season ranked sixth nationally.
The Huskies, who were the pre-season favourite among the coaches in 2015-16, but lost by a point to the Tigers in last year’s AUS semifinal, received two first-place votes and 44 points overall in the poll.
The UNB Varsity Reds ranked third, garnering 33 points in the voting. The V-Reds are led by senior guard Javon Masters, the all-time scoring leader in school history with 1,608 points in his first three years in the league.
The StFX X-Men, looking to improve on their 5-15 record after missing the post-season each of the past two years, received 29 points in the poll to rank fourth, just ahead of the Acadia Axemen who were fifth with 27 points.
The UPEI Panthers, AUS finalists last year after a second-place finish in the regular season, picked up 23 points to sit sixth in the pre-season vote. With just one AUS title in the past 27 campaigns, the Panthers will look to have another great season from Tyler Scott who finished second in AUS scoring to Masters last year with 25.1 points per game .
The Cape Breton Capers and Memorial Sea-Hawks round out the poll, with each receiving 10 points respectively in the voting. The Capers are led by first-year head coach David Petroziello while the Sea-Hawks are led by Peter Benoite.
2016-17 AUS Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Dalhousie (6), 48 pts.
2. Saint Mary’s (2), 44 pts.
3. UNB, 33 pts.
4. StFX, 29 pts.
5. Acadia, 27 pts.
6. UPEI, 23 pts.
T7. Cape Breton, 10 pts.
T7. Memorial, 10 pts.
The 2016-17 regular season gets underway Thursday night in Wolfville when the Axemen host the U Sports No. 9-ranked Saint Mary’s at 8 p.m., followed by all eight teams seeing action this weekend.
This upcoming schedule is as follows:
Thu. Nov. 3 – Saint Mary’s at Acadia, 8 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 4 – Cape Breton at Dalhousie, 8 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 4 – StFX at UPEI, 8 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – Cape Breton at Dalhousie, 4 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – UNB at Memorial, 8 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – StFX at UPEI, 8 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – Acadia at Saint Mary’s, 8 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 6 – UNB at Memorial, 2 p.m.