If preseason polls are any insight to what the upcoming basketball season will look like, fans in the Greenhouse are set to have a pretty good ride.

Monday, the KJCCC announced at their annual Basketball Press Conference that the Seward County Saints were the coaches top pick to defend their 2011 Jayhawk West Championship, while the Lady Saints were chosen by the league as the top contender to try and knock off reigning champs Hutchinson on the women’s side.
After winning the Jayhawk West going away last season by a full 2 games, the Saints were picked as the favorite yet again in 2011-2012. Seward who finished 27-7 , 12-4 last year returns just two players from their team that finished just one win from their second bid to the National Tournament under Head Coach Bryan Zollinger, but does bring in a trio of sophomore transfers expected to help keep the Saints on top. They were followed in the poll by Hutchinson, who went 26-7, 10-6 and finished 2nd a year ago after climbing all the way to #1 in the NJCAA Poll midseason. The coaches pick for #3 in the West was Garden City who was 21-11, 9-7 last season but boasts two of the top sophomores in the country via transfer this year. Cloud County comes in in the 4th spot after an upstart season in 2010-2011 that saw them finish 3rd in the conference with a 19-12, 9-7 mark. The 5th through 9th spots in the preseason poll read exactly how the bottom half of the conference finished last season with Dodge City (19-12, 8-8) 5th, Butler (17-14, 7-9) 6th, Barton (19-12, 7-9) 7th, Colby (15-16, 6-10) 8th, and Pratt (13-17, 4-12) rounding out the pack in 9th.
On the women’s side, the coaches predicted that the Lady Saints will move back to the top of the conference race after a 21-11, 10-6 season that saw them finish 4th. Seward, led by a strong contingent of returning sophomores was picked #2 by the coaches, one spot behind defending champion Hutchinson who was the top candidate to repeat as top team again in 2011-2012 after a 30-3, 15-1 season in 2010-2011. Cloud County was picked 3rd after winning the region last season with a 27-9, 12-4 mark and Butler was picked to make the jump to the top half as they were chosen 4th following a 20-12, 9-7 record that put them 5th a year ago. The #5 team in the poll is Garden City who looks to rebound from a disappointing 16-15, 6-10 2010-2011 campaign and the #6 spot goes to Barton after a 21-11, 12-4 season that was good for 3rd in the conference. Pratt comes in at #7 in the coaches poll after a 13-18, 3-13 season last year and #8 Colby (10-21, 5-11) and #9 Dodge City (7-23, 0-16) take up the rear in the preseason survey.
Fans will have their first chance to see the Saints and Lady Saints Tuesday night during Saints Bookstore Basketball Preview/Benefit Night at the Greenhouse which will officially start at 5:30 with a poster signing until 6:30 when the action will kick off on the court with games, contests, and more. The Lady Saints will start their regular season one week from tomorrow in Shawnee, Oklahoma in a road battle against Oklahoma Baptist JV, while both teams will hit the court November 4th in the Pepsi Classic in the Greenhouse.