The Toledo men’s basketball team was tabbed to win the West Division in the 2012-13 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll released last week.
Toledo received 20 first-place votes and 143 points, while Ohio was selected as the East Division winner with 19 first-place votes and 141 points. The Bobcats also garnered 18 votes to win the FirstEnergy MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament with Akron receiving six votes.
Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk is entering his third season at UT’s helm and orchestrated a dramatic turnaround in the 2011-12 campaign. The Rockets registered the second-largest turnaround in NCAA Division I Basketball last year by compiling a 19-17 win-loss mark and advancing to post-season play for the first time in five years.
UT returns its entire starting lineup, including second-team All-MAC honoree and junior Rian Pearson (16.4 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game) and 2011-12 MAC Freshman of the Year Julius Brown (11.9 points per game, 4.9 assists per game), who were named to the West Division preseason All-MAC squad.
Following UT in the West Division was defending champ Eastern Michigan (118 points, 4 first-place votes), Western Michigan (88 points), Ball State (74 points), Northern Illinois (46 points) and Central Michigan (35 points).
Joining Pearson and Brown on the West Division squad were Ball State’s Jesse Berry, Northern Illinois’ Abdel Nader and Western Michigan’s Nate Hutcheson.
Reigning regular-season champion Akron was picked second behind Ohio in the East (122 points, 5 first-place votes) followed by Kent State (89 points), Buffalo (68 points), Bowling Green (53 points) and Miami (31 points).
The East Division squad is comprised of Ohio’s D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt, Buffalo’s Javon McCrea, Akron’s Zeke Marshall and Bowling Green’s A’uston Calhoun.
Toledo will tip off its regular season by playing three road games over a six-day span beginning Friday, Nov. 9, at Horizon League member Loyola in Illinois. UT then will visit Big Ten foe Minnesota Monday, Nov. 12, before heading to Missouri Valley Conference member Northern Iowa Wednesday, Nov. 14.
See the schedule.