Oct 25, 2012 8:46 PM by Andrew Masuda
SAN LUIS OBISPO - Despite returning two starters and six letterwinners from a 2011-12 squad that won 18 games and reached the semifinals of last year's Big West Tournament, the Cal Poly men's basketball program was selected for a seventh-placed finish this season in the conference preseason media poll following the Thursday release of voting results.
Cal Poly (18-15, 8-8 last season), which has ranked among the top 25 defensive programs in Division I during the past two seasons, received 100 points in the media poll to finish 13 votes behind sixth-placed Pacific (11-19, 6-10).
Defending Big West regular season and tournament champion Long Beach State (25-9, 15-1) was selected to retain its crown after collecting 13 of an available 21 first-place votes and 194 total points. Last season's runner-up, Cal State Fullerton (21-10, 12-4), was selected second with 164 points and six first-place votes. The Titans were followed by UC Irvine (12-20, 6-10) on 153 points, Big West debutante Hawai'i (16-16, 6-8 WAC) on 132 and UC Santa Barbara (20-11, 12-4) with 129 points. Both UC Irvine and Pacific each collected one first-place vote.
Cal State Northridge (7-21, 3-13) was selected eighth with 83 points, followed by UC Davis (5-26, 3-13) on 44. UC Riverside (14-17, 7-9), ineligible for the Big West Tournament and postseason play due to its accumulated APR score, finished last in Thursday's poll with 43 points.
The Mustangs have exceeded Big West preseason poll expectations during two of head coach Joe Callero's previous three seasons. Selected to finish last during Callero's inaugural 2009-10 season, the Mustangs instead climbed to sixth. Picked fifth two seasons ago, Cal Poly matched its highest finish in the Big West standings by posting a second-place showing. Cal Poly was selected to finish third last year and ended regular season action in fourth before reaching the semifinals of the Big West Tournament.
Cal Poly fans will receive their first competitive look at the 2012-13 Mustang squad when the program hosts its annual Green and Gold intrasquad exhibition on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. inside Mott Gym. Saturday's exhibition marks Cal Poly's only preseason tuneup before the Mustangs open the 2012-13 regular season at TCU on Friday, Nov. 9.
2012-13 Big West Conference Preseason Media Poll
No. Program (First-Place) Points 2011-12 Record (Big West)
1. Long Beach State (13) 194 25-9 (15-1)
2. Cal State Fullerton (6) 164 21-10 (12-4)
3. UC Irvine (1) 153 12-20 (6-10)
4. Hawai'i 132 16-16 (6-8 WAC)
5. UC Santa Barbara 129 20-11 (12-4)
6. Pacific (1) 113 11-19 (6-10)
7. Cal Poly 100 18-15 (8-8)
8. Cal State Northridge 83 7-21 (3-13)
9. UC Davis 44 5-26 (3-13)
10. UC Riverside 43 14-17 (7-9)
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