Pacers Dubbed Preseason Favorite in Peach Belt Conference
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The 11th-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken men's basketball team was chosen as the league favorite in the 2010-11 Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches poll.
USC Aiken received 10 of a possible 12 first-place votes to finish ahead of rival Augusta State. Clayton State is third in the preseason poll followed by Georgia College in fourth and Armstrong Atlantic State in fifth.
Montevallo is sixth in the poll with Flagler seventh and Francis Marion eighth. Georgia Southwestern, North Georgia, Lander, Columbus State and UNC Pembroke rounded out the voting.
Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
"It is an honor to be picked by your colleagues as the team to win the conference," noted USC Aiken head men's basketball coach Vince Alexander. "It is still preseason and we still have a lot of work to do though. God-willing we will be able to fulfill that prediction if we continue to make the progress that we are making currently. We will see what happens. There is a lot of basketball to be played over the course of the coming months."
USC Aiken's pick as the preseason favorite marks the second time in the last three seasons that the Pacers have been hailed as the PBC league favorite. The preseason No. 1 nationally by the Sporting News in 2008-09, USC Aiken entered the 2008-09 campaign the choice of the league's head coaches in the PBC preseason poll.
The only Peach Belt Conference school ranked in the 2010 preseason top 25, USC Aiken was also tabbed as a possible breakthrough team in NCAA Division II by the 2010-11 Sporting News College Basketball Preview.
USC Aiken men's basketball program has won a school-record 72 games over the last three seasons. The 72 victories over the three-year span are the most in the Palmetto State among all levels of college basketball.
Under the guidance of Alexander, USC Aiken has become a national force in NCAA Division II over the past three seasons.
In addition to the victories, the 2007-08 USC Aiken men's basketball team won the Peach Belt Conference Regular Season Championship and the 2008-09 Pacer men's basketball team advanced farther than any other squad in program history to the NCAA Division II "Sweet Sixteen." The 2009-10 USC Aiken men's basketball team claimed the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship.
USC Aiken will open its 2010-11 campaign with an exhibition against Southern Wesleyan at the Convocation Center at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11. The Pacers will be commencing their first action in a season for the second consecutive season against the Warriors. The Pacers downed Southern Wesleyan, 92-58, in an exhibition on Nov. 5, 2009 at the Convocation Center.
The Pacers will officially begin their 2010-11 regular season the next week against Voorhees at the Convocation Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The Pacers and Tigers will be tangling on the hardwood against one another for the 17th time with USC Aiken owning an 11-5 all-time series advantage. The two teams have not played since the 1991-92 season.