SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Two-time reigning Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Men's Basketball Champion, Endicott, was picked to make it three in a row after earning the top spot in the CCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released on Friday morning by the conference office.
The Gulls earned 99 points and nine of the possible 10 first place votes that were cast by the league's head men's basketball coaches.
In 2015-16, Endicott finished 18-8 (12-6 CCC) and earned the fourth-seed in the CCC Championship Tournament. The Gulls went on to make a run through the bracket. After defeating Gordon, 86-76 in the quarterfinals, the reigning CCC Champions earned the right to defend their title with an 82-80 win over top-seed Nichols. Endicott defeated Roger Williams, 75-62 to claim the conference crown.
Endicott advanced to the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship and nearly became the first CCC team since Anna Maria in 1995-96 to advance to the Sweet 16 before suffering a 91-83 defeat in overtime to Wooster.
Gordon, the team Endicott knocked off in the quarterfinals last year, was picked second in the poll, accruing 80 points.
Nichols received the final remaining first place vote and a 77 point total to earn the third spot in this year's table. The Bison went 25-4 (16-2 CCC) last year and earned the top seed in the CCC Tournament. However, their championship hopes ended in a hard-fought semifinal with the Gulls.
Roger Williams and Wentworth were the fourth and fifth selections, respectively, this year. The 2016 CCC Tournament runner-up Hawks earned 71 points, while the Leopards collected 62.
The bottom half of the ledger included Western New England (53 points), the University of New England (47), Eastern Nazarene (26), Salve Regina (22), and Curry (13) in that order.
The men's basketball season tips off on Tuesday, Nov. 15 with nine of the 10 teams in non-conference action. The conference schedule begins on Nov. 30. The top eight teams in the conference standings will qualify for the CCC Men's Basketball Championship Tournament, which begins with the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, Feb. 21 and concludes with the Championship game on Saturday, Feb. 25. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the league's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
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