Oct. 30 - PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Both the Bethany College men’s and women’s basketball teams were selected to finish in the top half of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) when the league held its annual Basketball Media Day at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.
The Bison men, who finished 19-9 last season and earned a berth in the ECAC South Region Tournament, were a narrow choice to finish second in the conference with seven first place votes and 215 points. Defending PAC Tournament champion Grove City (Pa.) College earned the top spot with 12 first place votes and 218 points. Westminster (Pa.) College tallied 11 first place nods and 205 total points to finish just ahead of Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College, who had seven first place votes and 204 points.
Rounding out the men’s ballot was Thiel (Pa.) College with 127 points and the final two first place votes, Waynesburg (Pa.) College with 102 points and Thomas More (Ky.) College with 73 points.
“I am kind of honored to be picked that high,” said Bison head coach Aaron Huffman, whose team returns three starters, but lost All-PAC selections James Wallace and Chris Stephens. “It feels somewhat like a vote of respect for the program after what we’ve lost the last two years. But because of what we’ve lost, we have a long road ahead of us to try to live up to where we were picked.”
Bethany’s women, who were 9-18 and reached the PAC Tournament semifinals a year ago, finished in a tie for fourth place with Waynesburg (Pa.) University with 170 points. Washington & Jefferson was tabbed as the preseason favorite with 306 points and 17 first place votes, just ahead of defending league champion Thomas More’s 12 top votes and 296 points. Westminster rounded out the top three by matching Thomas More’s number of first place votes while notching 278 points.
After the Bethany-Waynesburg tie for fourth, the next three spots were claimed by Thiel (one first place vote, 127 points), Grove City (one first place vote, 112 points) and Chatham (Pa.) University with 80 points.
“The three teams picked above us are tough programs coming off strong years,” said BC head coach Rebecca Upton, who also has three starters back. “Regardless of where we were picked, we still think we will be competing for a PAC title, so we just need to go out and take care of winning games.”
Bethany’s women begin the 2007-08 season on Friday, November 16 at the Penn State Behrend Tournament against the host team, while the Bison men start the new campaign the same night at the Mount Aloysius (Pa.) College Tournament against Allegheny (Pa.) College.