Arkansas-Pine Bluff is predicted to finish seventh in SWAC men’s basketball, according to a poll voted on by the conference’s coaches.
The Golden Lions are coming off an 11-22 season in which they finished tied for fifth with Alabama State at 9-9 in the conference. Despite their postseason ban, the Lions can still compete for a SWAC regular-season championship.
UAPB junior center Daniel Broughton was selected to the Preseason All-SWAC first team, and senior teammate Mitchell Anderson made the second team as a guard. Broughton averaged 10.7 points and 6 rebounds per game last season. Anderson tallied 11.2 rebounds and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Prairie View is the favorite to win the SWAC with 81 voting points and four first-place votes. The next four in the poll, Southern (69 points), Jackson State (65), Texas Southern (64) and Alabama A&M (51), each received one first-place vote, as did eighth-place Alcorn State (42).
Alabama State is predicted sixth with 50 points. UAPB follows with 45 points, while Grambling State (18) and Mississippi Valley State (12) round out the poll. Texas Southern and Valley also are banned from postseason play.
In women’s hoops, SWAC coaches predict UAPB will finish last in the league for the third consecutive season.
The Lady Lions, under first-year head coach Nate Kilbert, ended up 10th in the SWAC coaches’ poll with 23 points. Kilbert led Valley to the regular-season championship this past season.
But UAPB got good news when senior forward Chi Chi Okwumabua was named to the Preseason All-SWAC second team. Okwumabua led the team with 11.3 points per game.
Defending SWAC tournament champion Prairie View A&M is favored to win the conference with 81 points, earning six first-place votes. Second- through ninth-place teams are Southern (76), Alabama A&M (61), Alabama State (58), Alcorn State (51), Valley (39), Jackson State (37), Grambling State (34) and Texas Southern (32). Alabama A&M, Valley and Texas Southern each received a first-place vote.
The Golden Lions open their season Nov. 9 against Houston Baptist at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The Lady Lions will begin Nov. 11 at Kansas State before hosting Philander Smith on Nov. 15.