LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - In exclusive voting by the league’s head coaches, where just six points separated the top four teams, Trinity emerged as the favorite for the 2018-19 Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference men’s basketball season.
Trinity, which is in search of its ninth SCAC men’s title overall and first since 2014, garnered four first-place votes to top the poll with 55 points. Centenary checked in at second on the poll after receiving two first-place votes and totaling 51 points. The Gents finished runner-up at the 2018 SCAC Tournament and have advanced to the tournament final three of the past five seasons. Schreiner, coming off the program’s first-ever SCAC title and NCAA Tournament berth after defeating Centenary in last year’s conference tournament final, earned two first-place votes and finished third on the poll with 50 points. Texas Lutheran, which saw its run of three-straight conference titles snapped in 2018, received the final first-place vote to check in at fourth with 49 points. Southwestern rounded out the top-five in fifth with 41 points followed by Dallas (26), Austin College (19), Colorado College (18) and Johnson and Wales (15).
Trinity returns three starters, including two all-conference performers off its 2017-18 team that finished the regular season with an overall mark of 15-12 and in a three-way tie for second in the conference regular season standings with an 8-6 league mark. Senior forward Danny Rivara headlines the Tigers returnees after being named SCAC Co-Defensive-Player-of-the-Year and earning first-team all-conference honors a season ago. Offensively, Rivara paced the Tigers averaging 16.2 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds a night and was credited with 46 blocks on the year to pace a defense that led the league in turnover margin (+2.7) and opponents field goal percentage as the Tigers limited team to 40.5 percent shooting. Senior Isiah Specks also returns to lead the Tigers after earning third-team all-conference accolades last year, averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.
Trinity head coach Pat Cunningham returns to the bench for his 20th season at the helm of the Tigers program. Cunningham is the winningest men’s basketball coach in Trinity history, having amassed an overall record of 335-185 (.644) in his previous 19 seasons in San Antonio. Under Cunningham, Trinity has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances and posted a 196-91 (.683) record in SCAC contests.
The 2018-19 season begins on Thursday, November 8, while the SCAC Tournament will be held at the end of February in Seguin, Texas, hosted by Texas Lutheran University beginning the 22nd.
2018-19 SCAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll
|1.||Trinity University (4)||55|
|2.||Centenary College (2)||51|
|3.||Schreiner University (2)||50|
|4.||Texas Lutheran University (1)||49|
|6.||University of Dallas||26|
|9.||Johnson & Wales University (Denver)||15|