PRINCETON, W. Va. – After a 32-3 campaign that saw West Liberty earn its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, the annual preseason poll of WVIAC coaches has installed the Hilltoppers as the favorites to win a fourth straight conference title.
West Liberty (32-3, 21-1) garnered 14 first-place votes and 224 total points to lead the field, besting No. 2 Charleston (26-7, 18-4) for the top spot. The Golden Eagles, who dropped a 93-90 overtime decision to the Hilltoppers in last year's WVIAC Tournament championship game, received 201 points in the voting. UC also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Fairmont State (9-18, 7-15) picked up one first-place nod and 191 total points for third place in the poll. West Virginia State (14-13, 12-10) tallied 156 points for fourth while Alderson-Broaddus (18-10, 14-8) notched 146 points and is picked to finish fifth.
Shepherd (14-14, 11-11) was sixth, just ahead of Wheeling Jesuit (22-10, 16-6). The Cardinals are coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Pitt-Johnstown (15-14, 12-10), West Virginia Wesleyan (22-9, 15-7) and Concord (17-12, 12-10) rounded out the top 10. The Bobcats made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
Seton Hill (11-16, 9-13) edged Glenville State (7-20, 6-16) for 11th. Davis & Elkins (8-19, 4-18) is 13th while Bluefield State (1-26, 0-22) and Ohio Valley (8-18, 8-14) rounded out the preseason poll.
The complete 2012-13 WVIAC men's basketball coaches' poll follows:
|Rank||School (first-place votes)||Total Points|
|1.||West Liberty (14)||224|
|3.||Fairmont State (1)||191|
|4.||West Virginia State||156|
|9.||West Virginia Wesleyan||120|
|13.||Davis & Elkins||45|
while Bluefield State (1-26, 0-22) and Ohio Valley (8-18, 8-14) rounded out the preseason po