Midwestern State was picked second in the tightly 2011-12 Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll released by league officials Wednesday morning.
"To be picked second in a league of this caliber say a lot of our team and the guys we have coming back," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "It also speaks volumes for the respect the other coaches have four our program."
Haggerty enters his first year at the helm of the program and serving the previous two seasons as top assistant to Grant McCasland, who moved on to Baylor. MSU claimed South Central Region championships in each of those seasons while advancing to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2011.
The Mustangs received 10 first-place votes for a total for a total of 244 points to stand 11 points behind preseason favorite Tarleton State which picked up 11 first-place votes and a total of 255 points.
West Texas A&M (207 points, 2 first-place vote) is picked third followed by Texas A&M-Commerce (175, 1 first-place vote), Eastern New Mexico (162 points, 2 first-place votes), Angelo State (156 points, 2 first-place votes), Incarnate Word (106), Cameron (100), Texas A&M-Kingsville (70) and Abilene Christian (65).
MSU returns three starters and eight letterwinners off of a 25-9 squad which advanced to the national quarterfinal round before falling to eventual champion Bellarmine (Ky.).
Senior guard Michael Loyd is the top returning scorer netting 12.5 points a game last season to join starters David Terrell (8.6 points, 5.7 rebounds), Keonte' Logan (4.5 points, 2.4 rebounds) and Kevin Loyd (3.4 points, 1.9 rebounds).
Texas A&M-Commerce sophomore Desmond King garnered preseason player of the year honors after 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds a game in 2010-11. He was the LSC North Division freshman and newcomer of the year last season.
Midwestern State opens exhibition play Saturday night against Brigham Young at Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Central time).
LSC Mens Preseason Poll (1st-place votes in parentheses):
1. Tarleton State (11) 255 pts
2. Midwestern State (10) 244
3. West Texas A&M (2) 207
4. Texas A&M-Commerce (1) 175
5. Eastern New Mexico (2) 162
6. Angelo State (2) 156
7. Incarnate Word 106
8. Cameron 100
9. Texas A&M-Kingsville 70
10. Abilene Christian 65
The Midwestern State Mustangs are expected to finish sixth in the Lone Star Conference according to the 2010-11 LSC Preseason Women's Basketball Poll released on Wednesday.
The Mustangs collected 165 points in poll of media members, coaches, and sports information directors to place just ahead of Cameron in seventh with 162 points.
Tarleton State received 23 of the 31 first place votes to sit atop the preseason poll with 328 points. West Texas A&M was voted second with 289 points and four first place votes. Defending LSC tournament champion Texas Woman's was tabbed third with 247 points, just ahead of Angelo State (245) and Abilene Christian (241) who each received two first place votes.
The poll finished with Incarnate Word (157) eighth, Texas A&M-Kingsville (73), Texas A&M-Commerce (71) and Eastern New Mexico (68).
The Mustangs return five players who started during last season's 10-16 campaign that saw MSU just miss the LSC Tournament with a 6-8 South Division record.
"From past successes with our program, I can see why we were picked where we were in the poll," said MSU fourth-year coach Noel Johnson. "But it's not an assessment of the program we have now."
Johnson continued, "This is a motivational tool for us. We want to always improve and be in the top four."
The Mustangs return honorable mention All-LSC South performers Cierra Thompson and Savannah Carver who each averaged 10.5 points a game.
Tarleton State, the Lone Star Conference South Division champion a season ago and South Central Region semifinalist, comes off a 25-5 campaign and returns the 2011-12 LSC Preseason Player of the Year Shelby Adamson who averaged 16.1 points with 3.8 assists.
West Texas A&M was 17-11 a season ago and returns Jamie Simmons who average 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds a game along with 2010-11 LSC Preseason Player of the Year Joni Unruh who injured her knee in the first weekend of play last year.
"Those are two great programs and deserve the top spots," said Johnson. "They are consistently at the top and are hard to beat at home."
The conference sports a no divisional, 11-team alignment for this season with a double-round robin schedule to determine the conference champion. The Lone Star Conference Tournament to determine the LSC's representative to the NCAA Tournament begins a three-year run at the Allen Events Center in Allen, Feb. 29-March 4, 2012.
The Mustangs open the season on Saturday, Nov. 12 against Texas A&M International at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
LSC Womens Preseason Poll (1st-place votes in parentheses):