St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 31, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team is ranked No. 20 in the D3hoops.com Preseason Top-25 Poll, as announced by the website Monday.
WashU returns four starters and 14 letterwinners from last year's squad, which won its final five games to finish with a 15-10 overall record. The Bears also secured their 32nd-consecutive winning season under head coach head coach Mark Edwards.
Junior forward Andrew Sanders, a second-team All-University Athletic Association (UAA) selection year ago, averaged a team-best 15.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in 25 starts for the Bears at power forward. Joining Sanders on the all-conference second team was senior forward Clinton Hooks, who started all 25 games at shooting forward averaging 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 2015-16.
Junior guard Kevin Kucera started all 25 games at point guard for the Bears, and averaged 11.0 points and a team-high 5.4 assists per game. Junior center David Schmelter started 12 games at center averaging 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest, while junior forward Matt Highsmith started the remaining 13 games averaging 8.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
2016 national semifinalist Amherst College enters the season as the No. 1-ranked team in Division III. The Lord Jeffs finished with a 26-6 record a year ago.
The Bears will face four teams ranked in the preseason top-25 poll: No. 7 College of Wooster, No. 8 Ohio Wesleyan University, No. 15 Emory University and No. 18 Augustana College (Ill.).
Edwards enters his 36th season at his alma mater with an overall record of 642-283 (.694). The winningest coach in school history, Edwards has guided the Bears to a school-record 32-consecutive winning seasons, 13 UAA championships, 19 NCAA Tournaments and the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship. He enters the season ranked fifth in active wins and 12th all-time by a NCAA Division III head coach.
WashU opens the 2016 season with a road game at Webster University on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Game time is set for 7 p.m.