The gradual ascent of the Concordia University Chicago men’s basketball program over the last two seasons has apparently made an impression throughout the Northern Athletics Conference. The Cougars have been voted the favorite to win the NAC South Division in the annual coaches’ preseason poll.

The Cougars were 10-6 in conference play last season, finishing in a tie for second place in the NAC South and reaching the semifinals of the conference tournament.

“The number one ranking is very flattering and also a bit of a curse, but it’s more flattering to the guys who suffered through a 5-20 season their freshman year,” said head coach Tyler Jones. “I feel that this preseason ranking is based more on the experience that comes with having 10 seniors on this year’s team.”

The Cougars return 14 players this season, including all five starters. The starting lineup includes first-team All-NAC center James Morgan, who averaged a double-double of 15.2 points and 10.9 rebounds, and second-team All-NAC point guard Deontay Young, who averaged 14.4 points and 3.8 assists.

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