Kansas City, Mo. - With its huge season-opening exhibition against University of Notre Dame (Ind.) just a week away, the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team claimed the No. 24 ranking in the NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Preseason Poll when it was released by the NAIA national office late Monday. SXU returns all its starters from the 2010-11 squad that finished 19-13 overall and ended its year with a tough loss (104-94) to No. 1 ranked Robert Morris University (Ill.) in the semifinals of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament last March. The Cougars have also added a few key recruits that could challenge for starting spots right away.
"I feel that this preseason ranking is justified considering how many starters we have returning and the way we were playing at the end of last season," said SXU men's basketball coach Tom O'Malley. "Our guys have worked hard during the offseason and feel they have something to prove, especially within our conference. We are going to be tested early on this season, but I think this group is up to the challenge."
Saint Xavier opens its 2011-12 campaign on Tuesday, November 1, with an exhibition game against University of Notre Dame (Ind.) at Purcell Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (eastern) tip-off.