Related link: OAC release
AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Athletic Conference released the 2015-16 Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll on Tuesday. The poll indicates that the Capital men's basketball team has been voted to finish seventh out of 10 teams, this year.
Defending OAC Tournament Champion University of Mount Union made a leap forward as this year's preseason favorite, taking in five first-place votes and 76 total points. Behind the Purple Raiders are the defending regular season championships, Pioneers of Marietta College, who hold three first-place votes and trail Mount by just six points in the poll. John Carroll University (69) took in one first-place vote and is slated in the third spot while Ohio Northern University (47) and Heidelberg University (46) clean up the top five teams, in that order.
Capital pulled down the final first-place vote despite being tabbed seventh with 40 points.
The Capital lineup will feature much turnover and a lot of youth in 2015-16. After losing its top two post players to graduation, the Crusaders will replenish those spots with the likes of senior Michael Green (Dublin, Ohio) and freshman Joe Thomas (Columbus, Ohio/Centennial).
The Crusaders will feature a guard-heavy lineup but have the bulk of its returners at that position, as well. Senior A.J. Dixon (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) returns as the team's top scorer and will be supported by sharpshooter Tyrel Jackson (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) plus fellow guards Brennan Czuchran (Rayland, Ohio) and Curt Geise (Delphos, Ohio). Senior Mark Minch (Cincinnati, Ohio) will enter the fold after transferring in from nearby Ohio Dominican University (NCAA Division II).
Last year, Capital struggled to an overall 8-18 record while finishing 6-12 in the OAC. They fought their way into the OAC Tournament last year but did not advance beyond their first-round matchup with Marietta.
The Crusaders open the 2015-16 season on the road at the NCAC/OAC Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 14 against Wittenberg University. Their first home contest will be on Sunday, Nov. 29 when they host Mount St. Joseph University at 6 p.m.