Owls, EOU top Cascade favorites
Defending national champion Oregon Tech is favored to hold on to its Cascade Collegiate Conference crown in men’s basketball, according to a preseason poll of the league’s 10 head coaches.
Tech received four first-place votes and 91 total points in earning the favorites’ tag for the 2012-13 season.
Eastern Oregon picked up two first place votes and 80 points to place second. Warner Pacific, which earned two first-place votes, totaled 79 points and placed third. Southern Oregon also earned two first place votes and is picked fourth with 73 points.
The Raiders were followed by Northwest (70 points), College of Idaho (45), Corban (39), Concordia (37), Northwest Christian (25) and Evergreen (11).
Oregon Tech, under the direction of veteran coach Danny Miles, is coming off a 34-4 campaign last season, when it captured the NAIA D II National Championship along with the CCC regular season and postseason tournament titles.
The Hustlin’ Owls key returners include senior guard David Clarke, sophomore center Josh Johnson and junior forward Mihajilo Matic.
Eastern Oregon, which has made it to the NAIA D II national tournament five straight years, will feature seven new players on its roster.
Key returnees for the Mountaineers, who are led by fourth-year coach Isaac Williams, include senior guard Cody Thurmond, senior forward Anthony Brown and senior forward Jason Mumm. Mumm returns after a redshirt season due to injury.
Warner Pacific looks to improve upon the success of 2011-12, in which the team finished with a 24-9 overall record and 14-4 in the CCC.
The Knights, who are guided by second-year coach Jared Valentine, are expected to be led by returning All-CCC performers William Sharp, guard, and forward Stephen Harris.
Southern Oregon, led by 17th-year head coach Brian McDermott, returns three starters and will have nine new players on the roster. Key returners include sophomore forward Eric Thompson and junior guard Kyle Tedder.
Conference action gets under way in early December.
The top eight teams in the final regular season standings will advance to the CCC’s postseason tournament.