Chris Mack is in his third season as the XU head coach.
Oct. 28, 2011
CINCINNATI --- The Xavier University men's basketball squad is ranked 14th in the preseason Associated Press Poll, which was released today. Earlier this month XU was chosen 15th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
Xavier was ranked 20th in the final Associated Press Poll at the end of last season. In fact, Xavier is one of only five schools that have made the Associated Press Final Poll in each of the last four seasons. Only XU, Duke, Kansas, Purdue and Pittsburgh can make a claim of an active streak of at least four years.
This is the sixth straight season that Xavier has been ranked at some point in the AP Poll, although its first appearance in the preseason AP Poll since checking in at No. 10 in the 2002-03 season, which was the senior year for 2003 National Player of the Year David West.
Expectations are high at Xavier entering the 2011-12 season, including numerous other top 25 preseason rankings and the preseason favorite role in the Atlantic 10. The Xavier program is coming off a sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a fifth straight A-10 Regular Season Championship.
Xavier finished 24-8 overall in the 2010-11 season, winning the Atlantic 10 Championship with a 15-1 mark before bowing out in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
The high level of excitement in the Xavier camp for the 2011-12 season starts with the return of consensus 2010-11 Third Team All-American Tu Holloway, a 6-0 senior guard who also earned 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year and A-10 All-Defensive Team honors after leading the team in scoring (19.7 ppg.) and the entire Atlantic 10 in assists (5.4 apg.) as a junior. Holloway, who is one of only three players returning this season that earned first, second or third team Associated Press All-America honors for the 2010-11 season, has already garnered preseason 2011-12 First Team (Athlon Sports) and Second Team (CBSSports.com) All-America honors. The AP preseason honors are slated to be announced next week.
Xavier returns two other starters who earned All-Conference honors last season, including 7-0 senior center Kenny Frease, who averaged 11.7 ppg. and 7.1 rpg. as a junior. The 2010-11 Honorable Mention All-A-10 selection was among the most improved players in the league last season. Another returning starter is 6-1 junior guard Mark Lyons, a 2010-11 Third Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection who was second only to Holloway in scoring (13.6 ppg.) and assists (3.1 apg.) on last year's squad. Both Frease and Lyons were named to the 2011-12 preseason A-10 Second Team.