After finishing seventh in the Southland a year ago with an 8-10 conference record, the Wildcats are picked to finish one spot better, as they boast a young team with seven freshman and just one senior in forward Jovan Crnic.
However, Junior guard Isaiah Tripp said the team has no intentions of settling for sixth.
“Our mindset is ‘Taking A Stand’,” Tripp said. “Taking a stand on the little things, taking a stand on the defensive end, taking a standing on winning. No disrespect to anyone, but we feel that we can and will finish first in this conference this year and that is where our focus has been placed since the start of our summer workouts.”
Last year, the Wildcats averaged 70.4 points per game, while their points against average was 73.9.
The men also scored a total 2209 points last year and had shot 45.2 percent from the field.
Sophomore guard Jaylen Franklin had the honor of being named to the preseason all-Southland Conference first team. Franklin was named conference freshman of the year and to the all-Conference second team at the end of last season.
“I think getting selected as all-Southland first team means a lot,” Franklin said. “I’m very honored but at the same time I have to stay humble and do whatever it takes to help my team win.”
Last year, Franklin finished seventh in the conference in scoring averaging with 16.2 points per game. He also was also runner up for national mid-major freshman of the year.
“My team’s mindset is to win,” said Franklin. “We want to take it one game at a time. The team wants to do better than last year and I think we can. What we want to accomplish is finishing in the top three of conference at the end of the year. With the players we have and the experience we got this should be a good year.”
ACU opens its season Friday in Moody Coliseum against Div. 3 opponent Schreiner University.
The Moutaineers finished last year with a 10-15 record and were 1-9 when playing on the road. They also fell 69-46 when they traveled to Key City in a December meeting a year ago.
Schreiner will return its leading scorer from last season in senior forward Wes Miller who averaged 13.8 points per game. Senior guard Jared Thompson, who averaged 9.8 points per game and was the second-leading scorer also returns.
The game is scheduled to officially tip at 7 P.M.