Midwestern State is in a familiar spot according to Lone Star Conference men's basketball coaches, sports information directors and selected media heading into the 2014-15 campaign.
The Mustangs are once again looking up to favorite Tarleton State as MSU was picked second in the league's annual preseason poll despite a long string of success.
Midwestern is 75-21 over the last three seasons under coach Nelson Haggerty while claiming LSC titles in five of the last six seasons, advancing to six straight NCAA Division II tournaments including Elite Eight appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The Mustangs also return LSC Preseason Player of the Year Xavier Blackburn.
The Verdunville, La. native earned second-team All-LSC honors and was named to the league's all-defensive team a season ago after averaging 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds a game while shooting 48 percent from the field.
Blackburn received votes on six of the 22 ballots edging out Angelo State's Chris Jones and Texas A&M-Commerce's LaDon Carnegie at four votes each while Tarleton State Davene Carter had three votes. Five others received one vote each.
Tarleton State was tabbed the favorite after receiving 12 first-place votes and 156 overall points just one point better than Midwestern State at 155 points and five first-place votes.
The rivals were followed by Angelo State (134 points, 1 first-place vote), Texas A&M-Commerce (117 points, 3 first-place votes), Cameron (66 points), Texas A&M-Kingsville (59 points), Eastern New Mexico (57 points, 1 first-place vote) and West Texas A&M (48 points).
Midwestern State opens exhibition play Saturday night against Oklahoma City at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
Midwestern State is picked to finish second in the Lone Star Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll released Wednesday afternoon.
The league's preseason polls reflect the opinions of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives from throughout the region.
Last season, the Mustangs finished with an 18-12 overall record taking fourth in LSC before advancing to the NCAA Division II postseason for the second consecutive season.
MSU senior forward Andrea Carter was tabbed Preseason Player of the Year as top selection on 13 of the 26 ballots cast. WT's Chontiquah White claimed 10 votes, while three others received one vote apiece.
Carter, a 5-9 senior forward from Angleton, averaged 16.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game to garner Daktronics All-South Central Region second-team mention. The two-time All-LSC first-team selection, heads into the 2014-15 season fifth on MSU's all-time rebounding chart with 759 and is 13th in career scoring with 1,084 points.
She was also named a Division II Bulletin Preseason All American earlier this month.
The Mustangs return eight letter winners and six seniors including Janae McJunkins, Lisa Hampton, Taylor Dowd, Shatoia Gober, Shambreka Jones, Dianna Jones and Carter.
West Texas A&M was the clear favorite to repeat as LSC champions after advancing to the NCAA Division II national championship game a season ago.
The Lady Buffs received first-place votes on 21 of the 26 ballots for a total of 227 points.
Midwestern State finished second with three first-place votes and 198 points followed by Tarleton State (180 points), Texas Woman's (153 points, 2 first-place votes), Angelo State (141 points), Cameron (88 points), Eastern New Mexico (64 points), Texas A&M-Commerce (62 points) and Texas A&M-Kingsville (57 points).