CHICKASHA – The Sooner Athletic Conference coaches have picked the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma men’s basketball team to finish the season eighth in the conference, according to the preseason coaches’ poll released this week.
“I've never pay any attention to the pre-season ranking,” said Head Coach Vinson Metcalf, who is starting his first season at the helm of the program. “This conference from top to bottom is tough. You have to play the games.”
Starting this season, the SAC begins play with four new teams — Texas Wesleyan, Northwood, Southwestern Assemblies of God and Southwestern Christian — bringing to conference’s total to 11.
The Drovers ended the 2012-13 season in the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship tournament — their sixth tournament appearance — falling to now SAC team SAGU.
SAGU was picked second in the conference with four first place votes. Oklahoma Baptist claimed the top spot.
The Drovers came in with 43 points in the preseason poll. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own school.
USAO finished last season with an overall record of 17-10 and a conference record of 9-7. They return five players, two of which were starters.
Seniors Shavon Scott and Jahseth Lloyd each played significant roles on the 2012-13 team, with Scott claiming the most minutes and Lloyd grabbing the most rebounds.
Also returning are Cameron King, Kennis White and Chris Ryan.
The season begins in late October with the SAC Tournament set at Oklahoma Baptist in March. All 11 teams will be invited to the tournament.
The Drovers kick off the season at the school’s annual preseason pep rally, Drover Madness, set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the USAO Fieldhouse.
They start the season with two long road trips to NCAA Division II Northwestern Oklahoma State and NAIA powerhouse LSU-Shreveport.
Their first home game is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 5 against NCAA Division II University of Central Oklahoma. It will be the school’s annual Homecoming game, and Student Activities Board will be announcing their Homecoming King and Queen at halftime. Alumni are invited to attend the game for free.