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Preseason hoops poll picks UB men 3rd in MAC East

A three-peat of the Mid-American Conference title by the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team is not expected, according to a preseason poll of coaches and media.

The Bulls are picked for third in the East Division of the MAC behind Akron and Ohio. UB has almost everyone back from last year’s team, which finished third in the MAC East at 10-8. Akron was first at 13-5 and Ohio was 11-7. UB upset Ohio in the quarterfinals, then upset Akron in the title game to go to its second straight NCAA Tournament.

Akron, which has posted 11 straight 20-win seasons, returns three starters, including first-team all-star center Isaiah “Big Dog” Johnson. Ohio returns four starters, including center Antonio Campbell, the MAC player of the year.

UB has three starters back after losing point guard Lamonte Bearden to transfer and off guard Jarryn Skeete to graduation. But the Bulls have all their other key contributors back and brought in a top-rated recruiting class.

UB senior wing Blake Hamilton, who hit the winning three-pointer in the final seconds to beat Akron in the title game, was a preseason all-East pick. The MAC’s 12 coaches and 24 media members participated in the poll.

2016-17 MAC Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll

MAC East (with points)

1. Akron (15 first-place votes) 194.

2. Ohio (16) 190.

3. Buffalo (5) 144.

4. Kent State 116.

5. Bowling Green 63.

6. Miami 49.

MAC West

1. Eastern Michigan (16) 178.

2. Ball State (12) 158.

3. NIU (5) 148.

4. Toledo (1) 100.

5. Western Michigan 95.

6. Central Michigan (2) 77.

2017 MAC Tournament Predicted Champion: Akron (15), Ohio (11), Eastern Michigan (3), Buffalo (2), NIU (2), Central Michigan (1), Kent State (1), Miami (1).

Preseason All-MAC East

Isaiah Johnson, Sr., C, Akron

Blake Hamilton, Sr., W, Buffalo

Jimmy Hall, Sr., F, Kent State

Antonio Campbell, Sr., F, Ohio

Jaaron Simmons, Jr., G, Ohio

Preseason All-MAC West

Franko House, Sr., F, Ball State

James Thompson IV, So., C, Eastern Michigan

Marin Maric, Sr., C, Northern Illinois

Jonathan Williams, Sr., G, Toledo

Thomas Wilder, Jr., G, Western Michigan

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