College Basketball

South Atlantic Conference Preview

Favorite

Lincoln Memorial: The Railsplitters have won the past three SAC regular season titles and are ranked No. 5 in national Division II preseason poll.

Contenders

Queens: Royals finished strong in SAC tournament in a close semifinal loss to Lincoln Memorial last season and return most of last season’s key players.

Carson-Newman: Eagles won SAC tournament last season and should contend again despite youth – eight of 13 players are either freshmen or sophomores.

Wingate: Bulldogs were 15-14 last season, but they’re another “young but experienced” team, with just two seniors.

Five to watch

G Luquan Choice, Lincoln Memorial, JR: Deadly three-point shooter – made 100 and shot 41 percent from behind the arc last season. Averaged 14.9 points a game.

G Rob Lewis, Queens, SR: Transfer from Houston Baptist led the Royals in scoring (16.3 points a game), assists and three-pointers made. Started all 30 games.

F Sean Morgan, Queens, SR: Reliable scorer and rebounder (14.1 points and 6.5 boards a game) for the Royals. Recorded a team-high six double-doubles.

F Jerrin Morrison, Catawba, SO: Former East Meck standout was SAC Freshman of the Year last season. Averaged 15.5 points and 6.1 rebounds a game.

F Carson Brooks, Carson-Newman, SR: Led the SAC in two-point field goals made last season, starting with a 12-for-12 performance against Barton. Averaged 15.1 points a game.

Worth mentioning

▪ Coker’s colorful Dan Schmotzer is the dean of SAC coaches, starting his 29th season. As a TCU assistant in the late Eighties, he coached current Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon.

▪ Newberry’s helter-skelter system under coach David Davis always produces the conference’s top offense. Wolves averaged 90 points a game last year and topped the 100 mark seven times.

▪ Wingate’s roster has the most local flavor of any SAC school, with 10 of the 15 players hailing from within a 50-mile radius of campus.

Outlook

Former Queens assistant coach Josh Schertz has built a dominant program in seven seasons at Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters might get a few challenges, but should be the class of the league again.

NEXT: Southern Conference

Keith Cannon

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