Aurora Takes Top Spot in NACC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Aurora University pulled in 20 of 23 first-place votes en route to the top spot in the NACC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll.
Aurora University pulled in 20 of 23 first-place votes en route to the top spot in the NACC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. --- Defending champion Aurora University has been selected as the favorite in the race for the 2018-2019 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference men's basketball title according to the preseason poll, voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

A year ago, the Spartans (20-9, 16-4 NACC) swept both the league's regular-season and tournament crowns and upset then-No. 4 Washington-St. Louis, 82-80, on a buzzer-beater in the first round of the NCAA Championship before bowing out with an 82-61 loss to eventual national champion Nebraska Wesleyan.

Aurora will be the final NACC men's program to get their 2018-19 season underway, making their season debut on Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 21) with a home contest against Millikin.

The Spartans tallied 269 points and 20 first-place votes, while Benedictine University edged Concordia University Wisconsin, 229-226, for second place and Illinois Institute of Technology was fourth with 208 points. The Falcons (1) and Scarlet Hawks (2) split the final three first-place votes.

Milwaukee School of Engineering edged Lakeland University, 179-177, for fifth place, while Edgewood College was seventh with 128.

Wisconsin Lutheran College (104), Rockford University (100), Marian University (92), Dominican University (50) and Concordia University Chicago (32) rounded out the final five spots in the poll.

The regular season kicks off Saturday, Nov. 10, with three games as Dominican travels to Maranatha Baptist, Rockford travels to Carroll and MSOE hosts Beloit. Rockford and Concordia Chicago open the league slate the following Thursday (Nov. 15) in River Forest. The first full night of league play is Tuesday, Nov. 27, when five games are on the docket. 

The NACC's regular season standings determine the teams that qualify for the six-team conference tournament, while the tournament champion receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

2018-2019 NACC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Aurora (20) 269
Benedictine 229
Concordia Wisconsin (1) 226
Illinois Tech (2) 208
MSOE 179
Lakeland 177
Edgewood 128
Wisconsin Lutheran 104
Rockford 100
Marian 92
Dominican 50
Concordia Chicago 32