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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State men's basketball team was selected to finish seventh out of 11 team in the Big Sky Conference preseason coaches poll, and eighth in the league's media poll.

Previously a nine-member league, the Big Sky will expand to 11 teams this year with the addition of members North Dakota and Southern Utah. In addition, the top seven teams at the end of the regular season will advance to the Big Sky Tournament after six teams reached the league's postseason event every year since the 1988-89 season.

Defending Big Sky regular season and tournament champion Montana was selected to finish first, and Weber State second in both polls. The top and bottom of the two polls remained consistent with Idaho State, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona selected to finish ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively. Places 3-8 varied in both polls.

Sacramento State, which has increased its conference win total each of the last three years, returns over 75 percent of the team's offensive production from a year ago. In fact, the Hornets' top five scorers from last season each return in 2012-13, comprised of forward John Dickson (12.4 ppg), swingman Joe Eberhard (11.1 ppg), shooting guard Jackson Carbajal (11.1 ppg), center Konner Veteto (9.0 ppg) and point guard Dylan Garrity (8.1 ppg).

Last year's squad went 5-3 during the second half of Big Sky play after going 0-8 in the first half. The team posted double figures in wins (10) for the first time since the 2006-07 season, won its most road games (4) since 2005-06, posted the best field goal percentage (.451) in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.) and finished with a positive rebounding margin (+1.5 per game) for just the second time in 25 years. The team finished 10-18 overall and 5-11 in the conference, and that mark could have been better as the team went 1-5 in games decided by five points or less.

Overall, the Hornets return eight players from a year ago, including starters Dickson, Eberhard, Garrity and Carbajal. Garrity was selected as the Big Sky's Freshman of the Year after finishing seventh in the nation with 6.9 assists per game. Sacramento State will also welcome a seven-player recruiting class that is comprised of four junior college transfers, two freshmen and a Div. I transfer.

Sacramento State had its first official team practice last Friday (Oct. 12), and the squad is 12 days away from its lone exhibition game against Simpson on Tuesday, Oct. 30, inside the Nest. The Hornets' season and home opener is Nov. 9 against UC Merced. Sacramento State will play three of its first four games at home this year, including matchups with CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 14) and UC Davis (Nov. 20).


No. Big Sky Coaches Poll
Points   No. Big Sky Media Poll
1. Montana
98 (8)   1. Montana 344 (24)
2. Weber State 92 (3)   2. Weber State 318 (8)
3. Northern Colorado 74   3. Eastern Washington 231
4. North Dakota 67   4. Northern Colorado 221
5. Portland State 61   5. Portland State 218
6. Eastern Washington 53   6.
North Dakota 173
7. Sacramento State 51   7. Montana State 171
8. Montana State 48   8. Sacramento State 166
9. Idaho State 25   9. Idaho State 106
10. Southern Utah 23   10. Southern Utah 98
11. Northern Arizona 14   11. Northern Arizona 67