SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State has been selected to finish eighth in the Big Sky Conference preseason media poll and ninth in the coaches poll, it was announced today by the league office. The Hornets were selected in the same exact order in the preseason polls a year ago, and the team eventually finished seventh with a 9-9 conference record.
Idaho, which returns all five starters from a team that went 12-6 in league a year ago, was selected to finish first in both polls. In the coaches poll, the Vandals were followed by Weber State, Montana, Northern Colorado, Montana State, North Dakota, Eastern Washington, Portland State, Sacramento State, Idaho State, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, respectively. Northern Colorado and Montana State were tied for fourth in the poll.
The top three spots in the media poll were the same with Idaho, Weber State and Montana taking up the top three spots, respectively. They were followed by fourth place Montana State, North Dakota, Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado, Sacramento State, Portland State, Northern Arizona, Idaho State and Southern Utah, respectively.
The Hornets will look to better those predictions next month when they open the 2017-18 season with a home exhibition on Nov. 3 vs. UC Santa Cruz followed by the regular season opener on Nov. 10 at Colorado State.
Sacramento State is coming off a 2016-17 season in which the team went 13-18 overall and 9-9 in league. The Hornets began the season with a 3-8 non-conference record, and then fell to 3-11 overall and 0-3 in the Big Sky. However, an 88-83 win at Southern Utah on Jan. 12 began a streak in which the Hornets won 10 of their final 17 games. Included in that run was a victory over Idaho State in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament.
The Hornets welcome back eight players from a year ago, including three starters. Among those starters are the top two scorers from a year ago in senior forward Justin Strings (15.9 ppg) and senior guard Marcus Graves (13.9 ppg). Those two combined to average 29.8 of the Hornets' average of 71.1 points per game, good for over 40 percent of the team's scoring production. Either Graves or Strings led the team in scoring in 19 of 31 games a year ago. Sophomore guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (4.6 ppg) started 28 games a year ago, and was one of the team's best defenders. Strings and Graves are this year's team captains.
For the third straight season, the Big Sky Tournament (March 6-10) will take place in Reno, Nev., at the downtown Reno Events Center. All 12 conference teams will participate in the event.
Sacramento State had its first official team practice on Sept. 29. After the team's exhibition game on Nov. 3, the Hornets will play seven of their first eight regular season games away from the Nest. Included in that first month of the season is the team's home opener against Notre Dame de Namur on Nov. 14, and the annual basketball version of the Causeway Classic against UC Davis on Nov. 21 at the Golden 1 Center.
Team - Points (First Place Votes)
1. Idaho - 117 (10)
2. Weber State - 103 (1)
3. Montana - 101
T-4. Northern Colorado - 83 (1)
T-4. Montana State - 83
6. North Dakota - 71
7. Eastern Washington - 65
8. Portland State - 55
9. Sacramento State - 48
10. Idaho State - 25
11. Northern Arizona - 23
12. Southern Utah - 19
First place votes in parenthesis
Team - Points (First Place Votes)
1. Idaho - 211 (12)
2. Weber State - 195 (3)
3. Montana - 188 (3)
4. Montana State - 180
5. North Dakota - 146 (1)
5. Eastern Washington - 144
7. Northern Colorado - 106
8. Sacramento State - 87
9. Portland State - 76
10. Northern Arizona - 59
11. Idaho State - 52
12. Southern Utah - 38
January 12, 2018 MEN'S BASKETBALL TO HOST MONTANA STATE ON SATURDAY FOR KIDS DAY
January 11, 2018 MONTANA USES BIG SECOND HALF TO BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL, 78-66
January 10, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS BACK IN THE NEST ON THURSDAY VS. MONTANA AT 7 P.M.
January 3, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS FIRST BIG SKY ROAD GAME THURSDAY AT IDAHO
January 2, 2018 STRINGS RECEIVES BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK ACCOLADES
January 1, 2018 STRINGS NAMED THE NATIONAL MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
December 29, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG SKY PLAY AT HOME SATURDAY VS. PORTLAND STATE
December 23, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS AT HOME TO UC SANTA BARBARA, 82-72
December 22, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS UC SANTA BARBARA ON SATURDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME
December 21, 2017 MEN’S HOOPS FALLS TO PORTLAND, 80-75, IN GOLDEN 1 CENTER MATCHUP
December 20, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS PORTLAND AT THE GOLDEN 1 CENTER ON THURSDAY AT 5:30 PM
December 18, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME TUESDAY VS. CSUN
December 9, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS AT BOISE STATE
December 3, 2017 MEN'S BASKETBALL TO PLAY SAINT MARY'S ON THE ROAD MONDAY NIGHT
November 24, 2017 BACK AND FORTH GAME GOES FULLERTON’S WAY IN 68-63 WIN OVER MEN’S HOOPS
November 23, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS FIRST ROUND WOODEN LEGACY GAME TO SAN DIEGO STATE
November 21, 2017 UC DAVIS USES LATE RUN TO EVENTUALLY BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
November 20, 2017 MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYS UC DAVIS ON TUESDAY AT THE GOLDEN 1 CENTER
November 17, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS ON THE ROAD AT SAN FRANCISCO
November 16, 2017 MEN'S BASKETBALL BACK ON THE ROAD FRIDAY NIGHT AT SAN FRANCISCO
November 8, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS DAMIEN HIGH SCHOOL GUARD ELIJAH McCULLOUGH
November 7, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS REGULAR SEASON FRIDAY AT COLORADO STATE
October 23, 2017 GRAVES OUT FOR THE SEASON WITH INJURY
October 17, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL RELEASES ITS 2017-18 SCHEDULE
September 18, 2017 BOISE’S CENTURYLINK ARENA TO HOST BIG SKY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT FROM 2019-22
August 24, 2017 HORNSBY SIGNS CONTRACT TO PLAY PROFESSIONALLY IN GERMANY