Lutes Picked Fifth in Preseason NWC Coaches Poll
One year after qualifying for the four-team Northwest Conference postseason tournament, Pacific Lutheran has been picked to finish fifth this season in voting by the conference head coaches.
Despite the graduation of the NCAA Division III Player of the Year and a change in the coaching staff, Whitworth has been picked to win a third straight Northwest Conference men's basketball championship in 2011-12.
Whitworth picked up six of nine first-place votes and 67 out of a possible 72 points in the poll. The Pirates return three key players from last winter, including Second Team All-NWC post Felix Friedt, honorable mention All-NWC forward Jack Loofburrow and point guard Wade Gebbers. The Bucs are playing under new head coach Matt Logie and will need to move on without 2011 NCAA Division III Player of the Year Michael Taylor.
Whitman College, which handed Whitworth its only conference loss last season, is a strong second place in the poll with three first-place votes and 61 points.
Pacific Lutheran received 29 points in the voting. Junior guard Drew Earnest was an honorable mention all-league honoree in 2011, and senior point guard James Conti will start for the fourth consecutive season.
To view the entire poll, click here.