HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team was selected to finish fourth as America East announced its Preseason Coaches Poll on its annual Media Day at the Connecticut State Capitol building Thursday afternoon. The University of Hartford's Chase Arena will play host to both the men's and women's America East Championship for the second consecutive season.
The Wildcats (41 points) were picked to finish behind Boston U. (62), Stony Brook (57) and Maine (51), with those three teams garnering six, two and one first-place vote(s), respectively. Vermont (35), Hartford (24), Binghamton (23), Albany (22) and UMBC (9) round out the rest of the poll.
The predicted fourth-place finish is the highest UNH has been chosen since the 2006-07 preseason. After reaching the semifinals in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 15 years, the Wildcats (13-17, 6-10), who ranked second in the conference in scoring defense (62.4 ppg) last season, have the pieces in place to make a run at their first America East title. The 'Cats return nine players, including the senior trio of Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.), Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.), which has 261 games of combined experience. Abreu (14.4 ppg) was an All-Conference Second Team selection last year and went over 1,000 points for his career. Conley (11.7 ppg) will also reach the 1,000-point plateau this season, while DiLiegro (8.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg) has a good chance to become UNH's all-time leading rebounder. Sophomore Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) could be poised for a breakout season after averaging 7.6 ppg en route to earning All-Rookie honors.
The Wildcats officially kick off the season Saturday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. when they play host to Lesley University at Lundholm Gymnasium. The 'Cats will gear up for the season at the annual Basketball Season Tip-Off Event, which will be held at Lundholm on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Fans will get a chance to meet the men's and women's basketball teams, win great prizes and purchase season tickets at a discounted rate. Admission is free. For more information, call (603) 862-0806.