For the first time as a member of NCAA Division II, the Daemen College men’s basketball team opened the season as a ranked team as the Wildcats come in at No. 22 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) preseason top-25 poll.
Daemen’s preseason ranking comes after the Wildcats spent the final seven weeks of the 2018-19 season included in the NABC poll. The Wildcats debuted in the poll at No. 23 on Jan. 29, and rose as high as No. 13 on Feb. 19. The Wildcats finished the season at No. 22.
Daemen went 24-6 overall and 16-2 in East Coast Conference play last season, capturing the program’s second ECC regular-season championship and first NCAA tournament berth. Head coach Mike MacDonald, now in his sixth season at the helm, brings back 10 players, including four starters, this season.
The Wildcats opened the regular season on Nov. 1 against No. 1 Northwest Missouri State University as part of the Small College Basketball National Hall of Fame Classic.
Daemen has opened the season with a pair of exhibition games against Division I opponents, falling to the University at Buffalo (111-73) and Syracuse University (90-71). Both opponents spent time ranked among the top-25 teams in the country last season.
Despite the results, both contests featured stretches of strong play by the Wildcats, including an even 43-43 second half against the Orange. The effort prompted legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to open his postgame press conference by saying, “That was a great game for us [against a] really, really well-coached team.”