The Toledo men’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the West Division in the 2015-16 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll released last week.
The poll was determined by a 23-member MAC Media Panel.
The Rockets received 110 points, trailing only defending MAC regular-season co-champion Central Michigan’s total of 138 points. The Chippewas were the unanimous selection to win the West Division by receiving all 23 first-place votes.
Following Toledo in the West were Western Michigan (94), Eastern Michigan (71), Northern Illinois (37) and Ball State (33).
Akron has been tabbed as the East Division winner with 17 first-place votes and 132 points. The Zips were followed by Kent State (116 points, five first-place votes), Ohio (69 points.), Buffalo (64 points, one first-place vote), Miami (60 points) and Bowling Green Ohio (42 points)
The Chippewas also were picked to win the MAC Tournament by 15 voters followed by Akron (6), Buffalo (1) and Kent State (1).
UT senior center Nathan Boothe was named to the Preseason All-MAC West Division squad along with the CMU’s Chris Fowler and John Simons, EMU’s Raven Lee and WMU’s Connar Tava.
The Preseason All-MAC East Division team included Akron’s Pat Forsythe, Buffalo’s Lamonte Bearden, Kent State’s Jimmy Hall, Miami’s Eric Washington and Ohio’s Antonio Campbell.
Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk is entering his sixth season at UT’s helm and has orchestrated a dramatic turnaround since his arrival in 2010. He has guided the Midnight Blue and Gold to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the program posted five straight such seasons from 1976 to 1981. Toledo also has won a Mid-American Conference-best 47 victories over the last two years, the most in a two-year period in program history.
The Rockets are returning two starters in 2015-16, Boothe and junior guard Jonathan Williams, as well as three additional letterwinners — junior guard Jordan Lauf, junior center Zach Garber and sophomore guard Stuckey Mosley. Boothe averaged 10.0 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game en route to earning honorable-mention All-MAC honors, while Williams tallied 10.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Toledo will hit the floor for the first time Saturday, Nov. 7, when it faces NCAA Division II foe Hillsdale in an exhibition contest at 2:30 p.m. in Savage Arena. It will follow the Rocket women’s basketball squad’s exhibition matchup vs. Findlay at noon.
UT will open its regular season Saturday, Nov. 14, at home vs. West Virginia Tech before visiting Youngstown State Wednesday, Nov. 18.