Defending HCAC champions Mount St. Joseph University has been voted as the frontrunner in the 2015-16 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship race.
The Lions, who shared the HCAC championship with Defiance last winter, received seven first-place votes in the coaches' preseason poll. Mount garnered 97 points overall in the poll, holding off Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology who finished with 90 points and two first-place votes.
The Lions return a pair of All-HCAC players from last year's team. Senior guard Joel Scudder earned first team honors last season, averaging a team-high 14.9 points per game with 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest. Senior guard Femi Thompson averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest to earn first team all-conference honors.
Rose-Hulman will look to challenge Mount St. Joseph in the race to the top of the conference standings this winter after finishing fourth in the standings a year ago.
The Lions open the season at home against Wilmington at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15.