BRIDGEPORT -- West Liberty, which played for the NCAA Division II title last season, has been picked to win the 2015 Mountain East Conference championship after a vote conducted by the league's coaches.
The Hilltoppers garnered eight first place votes and finished with 118 points. West Liberty has been ranked as the No. 1 team in the country already by Sporting News, Division II Bulletin and Basketball Times. Senior forward C.J. Hester has earned preseason All-America honors by Division II Bulletin and Basketball times.
Fairmont State, which returns 2014 MEC Freshman of the Year Thomas Wimbush, was picked to finish second with 109 points and three first-place votes. Charleston was picked to finish third with 102 points. The Golden Eagles went 21-9 last year, won the 2014 MEC Tournament and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.
Wheeling Jesuit collected the final first-place vote and finished fourth in the poll with 89 points. Glenville State was picked fifth (75), followed by Shepherd (70), Notre Dame (56), West Virginia State (48) and UVa-Wise (38). West Virginia Wesleyan and Concord tied for 10th with 37 points, and Urbana was 12th with 13 points.
The poll was released on Monday at the Mountain East Conference Media Day at the Bridgeport Conference Center.
West Virginia Wesleyan men's head coach Gary Nottingham (pictured) remarked during the Media Day Conference, "It is good to be back in West Virginia and at West Virginia Wesleyan College. I have enjoyed getting back to this part of the state.
"We were picked 10th and I am not really sure what that means. It probably means we have a lot of work to do. We do have eight returnees from last year and two or three guys that started and played quality minutes.
"I think one of the only negatives is that we could play in a 6-5 and under league. We don't have a lot of size. We are going to have to learn hard and play together.
"I know the Mountain East Conference has some very good coaches and teams in it. It was great competition when I was here before and I don't think anything has changed in that regard."
The men's basketball season begins on Friday, Nov. 15.
|Mountain East Conference
Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
|1.||West Liberty (8)||118|
|2.||Fairmont State (3)||109|
|4.||Wheeling Jesuit (1)||89|
|8.||West Virginia State||48|
|10.||West Virginia Wesleyan||37|
|() denotes first-place votes|