FRISCO – The Sam Houston State Bearkats were picked to finish fifth in the Southland Conference according to the league’s preseason poll released on Monday morning by league officials.
The preseason predicted order of finish was voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors and with the release opening up the Southland Conference Social Media Day at the Toyota Center in Houston.
The Kats received 192 total points in the poll, including one first-place vote after finishing 21-12 and 10-8 in the SLC a year ago before advancing to the semifinals of the Southland Tournament. It was the third time in the last four seasons Coach Jason Hooten’s squad has recorded at least 20 wins.
Sam Houston was one of six teams to receive at least one first-place nod, while Stephen F. Austin took the top spot as the predicted league champion with 14 first-place votes and 268 total votes. Lamar was picked to finish second with 234 points and five first-place votes, while Southeastern Louisiana was tabbed as third with 209 points and three first-place votes.
The Kats checked in at fifth, one spot behind Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and one ahead of defending league champion New Orleans. The Islanders received 204 total points and one first-place vote after advancing to the finals of the Southland Tournament and the finals of the CIT, while New Orleans also received one first-place vote after claiming both the league’s regular season and tournament championships a year ago.
Abilene Christian and Northwestern State were picked to finish seventh and eighth, followed by Houston Baptist and Nicholls in the top 10. Central Arkansas, UIW and McNeese took the final three spots in the poll.
Hooten’s squad returns six lettermen back from a year ago, including returning starters John Dewey Iii and Christopher Galbreath Jr.
Dewey was named to the preseason all-SLC second team last week after averaging 10.0 points per game and finishing second in the league in assists per game. Galbreath averaged 10.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds last season. They will kick off the season at Johnson Coliseum on Nov. 11 against UT Tyler.
The announcement tips off Southland Conference Basketball Social Media Day at the Toyota Center, where the league’s 26 head coaches on both the men’s and women’s side will preview their upcoming season.
The Bearkat coaches are set for a 1 p.m. time slot with Q&A sessions, media interviews, social media activities are all on tap. Social Media Day can be followed on the Southland’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts and will air on ESPN3 tonight at 6 p.m.