LEWISBURG — The Bucknell men’s basketball team was picked No. 2 in the annual preseason poll of head coaches and sports information directors, second to defending champions Colgate.
The Bison garnered 130 points while the Raiders came out on top with 162.
Colgate, which defeated Bucknell in the 2019 Patriot League championship game and returns four starters from that team, received the maximum 18 first-place votes and 162 points (coaches and SIDs may not vote for their own team). American, led by Preseason Player of the Year Sa’eed Nelson, picked up the other two first-place tallies and was picked third with 126 points.
Loyola (98), Boston University (97), Army (86), Lehigh (84), Lafayette (55), Navy (41) and Holy Cross (21) rounded out the poll.
Nelson joined Boston University’s Max Mahoney, Loyola’s Andrew Kostecka, and Colgate’s Jordan Burns and Rapolas Ivanauskas on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
Bucknell has captured the Patriot League regular season title in five straight and eight of the last nine years, despite being picked as the preseason favorite only twice in that nine-year span (2017-18 and 2011-12). The Bison have equaled or outperformed their preseason predicted finish in each of the last 10 years.
In 2019-20, the Bison must replace a pair of all-conference honorees in Kimbal Mackenzie and Nate Sestina, but they do return three starters and 10 lettermen from last year’s squad that finished 21-12 overall and 13-5 in league play. Captains Bruce Moore, Avi Toomer and Ben Robertson bring a wealth of experience back to the fold this season. Moore started all 33 games a year ago and averaged nearly 10 points a game and nearly 5 boards. Toomer averaged nearly 9 a game.
Bucknell opens the season on Nov. 5 at Fairfield, with the home opener set for Nov. 10 against Vermont.