PARKVILLE, Mo. (AMCSportsOnline.com) - After an undefeated regular season and historic run by the Columbia College men's basketball team, the Cougars were picked to repeat as champions in the American Midwest Conference, earning 10 first-place votes in the 2013-14 AMC Preseason Men's Basketball Coaches Poll.
2013-14 AMC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Columbia College (10)
2. Park University (1)
3. Freed Hardeman University
4. Missouri Baptist University
5. William Woods University
6. Lyon College
7. Mid-Continent University
T-8. Williams Baptist College
T-8. Benedictine University at Springfield
10. Harris-Stowe State University
11. Hannibal-LaGrange University
Park University finished second, earning one first-place vote, after a 21-9 season and a trip to the AMC championship game. Columbia finished the regular season unbeaten and the year 35-1, falling in the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.
Columbia returns first-team all-conference honoree Devin Griffin, who was also an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, along with AMC Newcomer of the Year Derrick Dilworth, who was also an Honorable Mention All-American by the NAIA's men's basketball coaches. Park brings back nearly all of its letterwinners from last season, including NAIA Honorable Mention All-American Melvin Rowe and AMC Freshman of the Year Xavielle Brown.
Two-time All-American Kyle Teichmann and Honorable Mention All-American Reggie Gilmore return for Freed-Hardeman University, a newcomer to the AMC in 2013-14, that finished 14-19 in 2012-13. The Lions were picked to finish third in the AMC, followed by Missouri Baptist University, William Woods University, and Lyon College, fourth-through-sixth.
Another newcomer to the league, Mid-Continent University, was 18-14 overall last season and finished .500 in the TranSouth Athletic Conference. The Cougars are picked seventh in the AMC for 2013-14, followed by Williams Baptist College, Benedictine University at Springfield, Harris-Stowe State University and Hannibal-LaGrange University.
The AMC men's basketball season begins Oct. 29 in Walnut Ridge, Ark., when Crowley's Ridge College travels to Williams Baptist at 7 p.m. The AMC will experience its earliest start in conference history in 2013-14, Dec. 5, with four conference games, including the defending champion Columbia Cougars opening at county-line rival William Woods.