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The league announced the poll Friday at the annual NAC Basketball Media Day, hosted by
The Muskies received 48 points and two first-place votes from the conference's coaches.
Last season, the Muskies completed a magical run to the NAC Tournament championship, winning three straight road contests in overtime over the top three seeds in the conference.
"What we did last season in the conference tournament was remarkable and exciting," said Aaron Aanonsen,
That starter is forward Pete Worth, the team's lone senior. At 6-2, the Sheboygan North graduate is undersized at his position, but has a reputation for his determination and non-stop work ethic, often guarding players four or five inches taller than he is.
Worth averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, shooting a team-best 61 percent from the field in 27 games played. Worth was also in attendance for NAC Media Day festivities.
The Muskies lose five seniors from a year ago, including four-time all-conference guard Kris Saiberlich, who now serves as a graduate assistant coach for the team.
The team has 11 freshmen on its roster, and Aanonsen estimates that six of those first year players will be in the regular rotation.
"We lose about 75 percent from every major statistical category from last year," Aanonsen said. "One of our goals with each practice is to get a little better every day. It's difficult because we have such a young team, but I know they'll work hard."
Other key returners for
For the first time in the NAC's three years of existence, the conference will be divided into two divisions, the North Division and the South Division. This season,
Aurora, Benedictine, Concordia Chicago, Dominican, MSOE and Wisconsin Lutheran make up the South.
The NAC Challenge game has also been added to this year's schedule. At the conclusion of the regular season conference schedule, the team in first place in the North will play the first-place team from the South, the second-place team from the North will compete against the South's second-place finisher, and on down the line.
The outcome of each game will determine seeding for the NAC Tournament. The winner of the eight-team tournament will receive an automatic berth into the Division III NCAA Tournament.
For the complete NAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll, see below. First place votes are in parenthesis.
6. Maranatha Baptist 18
3. MSOE 47
Place 1 2 3 4 5 6
Points 6 5 4 3 2 1