ALBANY, N.Y. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team was selected to finish sixth as America East announced its Preseason Coaches' Poll held at its annual media day at the University at Albany Tuesday afternoon. Albany's SEFCU Arena will play host to both the men's and women's America East Championship.
The Wildcats (34 points) were picked to finish behind the University of Vermont (60), Stony Brook University (58), Boston University (49), Albany (38), and the University of Maine (35). The Catamounts were predicted to win the league and received five out of eight first-place votes. Stony Brook, last year's runner-up and regular-season champion, collected the remaining four first-place votes. The University of Hartford (26) was selected seventh, followed by UMBC (15) and Binghamton (9) to round out the field.
New Hampshire (13-16, 7-9) closed last season with five wins in its final seven games and reached double-digit victories for the fourth-straight season. UNH paced the conference in defending the three-pointer last season at 29.7 percent, which ranked 13th nationally. The Wildcats earned the fifth seed in the America East tournament, but fell to Albany (No. 4) in the quarterfinals.
The Wildcats will bring back nine letterwinners from the 2011-12 team, including three starters. New Hampshire tied for fifth in the conference standings last season, which was the program's best finish since 2009. The 'Cats also ranked in the 80th percentile nationally in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 68.2 points per game, which ranked third in the conference. Senior Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.), the team's top returning scorer (11.2 ppg in 2011-12) earned America East All-Defensive honors for the second straight year. Senior Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla.) was UNH's third leading scorer last season (9.7 ppg) and second-best rebounder (5.8 rpg).
The Wildcats officially kick off the season Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. when they play host to Suffolk University at Lundholm Gymnasium.