The University of Findlay men's basketball team was picked as the favorite to win the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division during the 2016-17 season as the league office unveiled their annual preseason poll on Oct. 26.
The Oilers received 34 points in the poll and led the South Division with five first place votes. Ashland University was picked to finish second in the South followed by Hillsdale College.
Saginaw Valley State University was picked as the favorite to win the North Division and received a league-high 49 points and seven first place votes. They were followed by Ferris State University and Lake Superior State University in the poll.
The Oilers reached the 20-win plateau for the 14th time in last 15 seasons after posting a 20-8 record during the 2015-16 campaign. It was the team's 34th straight winning season. Despite a first round exit from the GLIAC Tournament, head coach Charlie Ernst was still pleased with his team.
"The year was up and down. I think we were finding ourselves, getting new people involved, and trying to keep kids healthy. We put together a 12-game winning streak in the middle of the season and by the end, I like to think we were one of the better teams in the conference. We were a factor in the conference and in the region with a lot of young players. Our expectations for this season are that rather than start where we started last year, we start where we finished."
A pair of juniors return as the team's leading scorers in the form of Martyce Kimbrough and Taren Sullivan, who were both tabbed preseason all-conference performers. Kimbrough was a first team all-GLIAC selection last season after scoring 16.0 points per game to lead the Oilers. He was 11th in the league in scoring and ranked second with 80 three pointers made. Sullivan meanwhile was a second team all-GLIAC winner last season after scoring 12.6 points per contest for Findlay. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game and shot 47.3 percent from the field.
The Oilers will open their season on Nov. 13 at home against the University of Illinois-Springfield. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. inside Croy Gymnasium.