Colorado Mesa men’s basketball team picked to finish fourth in RMAC
Colorado Mesa University’s men’s basketball team can’t seem to shake Fort Lewis College.
The Mavericks played Fort Lewis in the final game of the regular season, the opening game of the RMAC tournament and in the first round of the NCAA Division II tournament last season, losing all three after beating the Skyhawks earlier in the season.
The RMAC rivals could be heading down a similar path this season.
Colorado Mesa and Fort Lewis are picked to finish tied for fourth place in the RMAC in a coaches’ preseason poll, released Tuesday. Mesa finished 18-10 (14-8 RMAC) and the Skyhawks finished 24-8 (15-7 RMAC) last season. Fort Lewis lost in the Central Region finals.
“Fort Lewis has a great program,” Colorado Mesa Associate Head Coach Andy Shantz said. “It’s always competitive games when we play.”
The Mavericks have eight returning players and are led by preseason All-RMAC junior forward Colton Burgon. He led the team with 11.6 points per game last season.
“We have a lot of returning guys and three more players that redshirted for us last year,” Shantz said. “They all have a good attitude and work their butts off.”
Mesa added 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Shawn King, a transfer from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Metro State received eight first-place votes and is favored to win the RMAC title. The Roadrunners are ranked 10th in the NABC Division II Top 25 poll.
Senior guard Reggie Evans is the RMAC preseason player of the year and a unanimous first-team selection.
Colorado Mines, No. 18 in the NABC poll, is picked second with two first-place votes. Adams State is third with four first-place votes.
Colorado Mesa plays an exhibition game Nov. 8 at Southern Utah University in Cedar City and opens the season Nov. 11 against Minot State (N.D.) in the Dixie State (Utah) Classic.
Colorado Mesa’s nine-win improvement last season in coach Rogers Walters’ second year impressed the RMAC coaches enough to vote the Mavericks to finish even higher in 2011-12.
Mesa is picked to finish fourth in the conference after placing fifth last year. The Mavericks (17-10, 14-8 RMAC) finished with a winning record for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
The Mavericks have 13 returning players. Katrina Selsor (junior guard) and Kelsey Sigl (junior forward) are preseason All-RMAC selections.
“We have a good group that has worked hard in the preseason,” Walters said. “I think we’ve improved in the classroom, locker room and on the court.”
Fort Lewis received nine first-place votes and is favored to win the RMAC title. The Skyhawks are ranked sixth in the USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 poll.
Metro State received five first-place votes and is picked second. The Roadrunners are seventh in the national rankings. Colorado Christian is picked third.
Fort Lewis senior forward Dana Schreibvogel is the RMAC preseason player of the year. The Division II Bulletin preseason All-America Super 16 selection was the RMAC player of the year last season.
Mesa plays an exhibition game Sunday at the University of Denver. The Mavs open the season Nov. 18 at Cal State-Chico.