LANCASTER, Pa. – Defending champion and national runner-up Swarthmore has been chosen as the favorite to repeat in the 2019-20 Centennial Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Poll. The Garnet received 14 first-place votes and tallied 156 points in a poll of head coaches and athletic communications directors.
Johns Hopkins collected the remaining six first-place votes, totaling 149 points to finish close behind in second place. A trio of returning CC postseason teams from last winter took third through fifth in the poll, with Ursinus (114), Franklin & Marshall (106) and Washington College (98) securing spots in the top five.
Muhlenberg (89) and Dickinson (82) were projected to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, followed by Haverford (42), Gettysburg (38), and McDaniel (26).
The 2019-20 campaign tips off on Friday, Nov. 8 with five of the 10 Centennial squads in action on opening night. Conference play opens up on Tuesday, Nov. 26, with the five-team conference tournament slated for Feb. 25-28-29.
Swarthmore stole many of the headlines from last season, as the Garnet collected their second Centennial Conference title in the last three years, became just the fifth team in conference history to advance to the NCAA Final Four, and were the first team in conference history to reach the national title game. Swarthmore's historic postseason run came to a close with a 96-82 loss to Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the national championship.
The Garnet continue to garner attention entering the 2019-20 campaign, as they were picked as the No. 1 team in the country in the D3hoops.com Preseason National Rankings. Swarthmore returns four of five starters from last season, but must make up for the loss of two-time Centennial Player of the Year and All-American Cam Wiley. Returning all-conference performers for the Garnet include senior forward Zac O'Dell, senior forward Nate Shafer, and junior guard Conor Harkins.
In addition to the Swarthmore trio, eight players with all-conference laurels throughout their careers return to the hardwood this season. Johns Hopkins junior guard Conner Delaney, a 2017-18 All-CC honoree, is back after missing most of last season due to injury. Ursinus senior forward Ryan McTamney, Washington College senior forward Dallas Marshall, and Muhlenberg sophomore guard Dan Gaines all return after earning Second Team All-CC awards last winter. Gaines was also named Rookie of the Year.
Other returning all-conference players include Muhlenberg senior guard Matt Gnias, F&M junior guard Justin Kupa, Ursinus senior forward Shane Stark, and Dickinson senior guard/forward Bryce Allen.
2019 Centennial Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
|Rank | Institution (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Swarthmore (14)||156|
|2. Johns Hopkins (6)||149|
|4. Franklin & Marshall||106|
|5. Washington College||98|