Provided by Wayland Baptist University
The votes are in, and both the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens and Pioneers basketball teams are picked to finish in the middle of the pack within the revamped Sooner Athletic Conference. In a vote of the SAC's head coaches, the Flying Queens are picked in a tie for fourth place while the Pioneers are seen as sixth in the 11-team league.
In the women's poll, Oklahoma City University is the rock-solid pick to win the conference crown. The Stars have won or shared every regular-season conference title since 2009.
The Stars received the maximum score of 100, gathering 10 of 11 first-place votes. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own school.
"We are honored and humbled that our conference has respect for our program to rank us No. 1 in the preseason poll," said OCU Coach Latricia Trammell. "We have one of the best conferences in the country, and to be a part of the SAC and to go against the teams and coaches that represent our conference is not an easy task. We have a special team this season, and we are striving to live up to the expectations that we have set for ourselves."
Oklahoma Baptist is the runner-up with the remaining first-place vote at 87 points, while John Brown is third in the rankings with 77 points.
Wayland tied with SAC newcomer Texas Wesleyan for fourth in the rankings with 69 points, followed by St. Gregory's in sixth at 50. Mid-America Christian is picked seventh at 47, followed by USAO with 39, Southwestern Assemblies of God with 26, Northwood with 23 and Southwestern Christian with 18 points. SAGU, Northwood and Southwestern Christian also are newcomers to the conference.
On the men's side, a three-way split of the 11 first-place votes saw OBU come out as the narrow favorite.
The Bison had six of 11 first-place votes for 94 points after a 25-8 season. Defending NAIA runner-up Southwestern Assemblies of God claimed four first-place votes and finished with 92 points, while 2013 SAC champion John Brown got the remaining first-place vote and is third with 83 points in the poll.
"I think that shows that nobody has any idea how this is going to play out," said OBU Coach Doug Tolin. "The level of competition hasn't dropped off at all, but nobody can tell who is going to win this thing."
OCU claimed the fourth spot in the poll with 70 points, followed by Texas Wesleyan at 64 and Wayland at 51. Mid-America Christian is seventh at 49 and USAO eighth with 43 points, followed by St. Gregory's in ninth with 23 points, Southwestern Christian in 10th with 20 points and Northwood in 11th with 16 points.
Prior to the start of their seasons, the Pioneers and Flying Queens will be featured in "Hutch Hysteria," to be held at 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in Hutcherson Center. The event will include player introductions, fun games and free giveaways.
Third-year coach Matt Garnett's Pioneers open the season on Oct. 29 at home against Barclay College while first-year coach Alesha Robertson's Flying Queens, after a scrimmage against South Plains College and Western Texas College at LCU's Rip Griffin Center on Oct. 29, open at home Nov. 2 against Huston-Tillotson.
The SAC Tournament will be held in March at OBU.
SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll (Women)
1. Oklahoma City (10) 100
2. Oklahoma Baptist (1) 87
3. John Brown 77
4. (T) Texas Wesleyan 69
4. (T) Wayland Baptist 69
6. St. Gregory's 50
7. Mid-America Christian 47
8. USAO 39
9. SW Assemblies of God 26
10. Northwood 18
11. SW Christian 18
SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll (Men)
1. Oklahoma Baptist (6) 94
2. SW Assemblies of God (4) 92
3. John Brown (1) 83
4. Oklahoma City 70
5. Texas Wesleyan 64
6. Wayland Baptist 51
7. Mid-America Christian 49
8. USAO 43
9. St. Gregory's 23
10. SW Christian 20
11. Northwood 16