The conference’s coaches favor the Oregon Tech men’s basketball team to win the Cascade Collegiate Conference this year, the preseason poll released Wednesday showed.
Tech returns every member of their 7-2 spring squad, along with a handful of newcomers that includes Oregon State transfer Joey Potts, a 6-10 forward.
“The CCC could be as good as it has ever been this year,” said OIT head coach Justin Parnell in a release. “There are a lot of 5th year seniors back and multiple teams return their entire roster. This could be a year where six-to-seven teams are good enough to win it, and the league champion might have five-to-six losses.”
Two tough Idaho squads lurk behind the Owls in the poll. The College of Idaho, which placed second, returns four of their starters including the reining conference Freshman of the Year in Jake O’Neil.
Lewis-Clark State placed third in the poll just a few months removed from losing to Shawnee State (Ohio) in the NAIA National Championship Game in March. According to the conference, the Warriors return a strong group that includes last year’s CCC Newcomer of the Year in Oreon Courtney.
Outside of the headline transfer, OIT returns a strong core group, which had six different players average at least 9 points per game in the shortened spring season. Senior guard Kaison Faust led the way, averaging 11.9 points over seven games.
“We really like our team this year,” Parnell said. “We have depth at every position, good size and length and a lot of experience. We look forward to getting started this weekend.”
Like the women’s team, the Owls open the season with two road games in the Bill Holtz Classic in Rocklin, Calif. The first of those games is Nov. 5.
Of course, those looking to get a sneak preview will get a chance this weekend as Tech hosts the semi-professional Seattle Mountaineers for an exhibition matchup on Danny Miles Court on Saturday at 8 p.m.
The Owls’ first official home game will be Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. when they host Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as part of the Lithia-Oregon Tech Classic.
CCC Men’s basketball preseason poll
Oregon Tech (5) — 135
College of Idaho (2) — 127
Lewis-Clark State College (4) — 125
Corban University (1) — 108
Southern Oregon University — 104
Bushnell University — 84
Northwest University — 69
Eastern Oregon University — 59
Warner Pacific University — 57
Multnomah University — 33
Walla Walla University — 27
The Evergreen State College — 16