JOHNSON CITY, TENN. (October 14, 2003) - The preseason honors keep coming for the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team.
One day after being picked to finish first in the Southern Conference North Division by both the league's coaches and media, the Buccaneers received 514 points and finished as the No. 4-ranked team in the country in the preseason CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll. The Bucs followed No. 3 Illinois-Chicago, No. 2 Manhattan and No. 1 Gonzaga.
ETSU is coming off a 2002-03 season in which the Bucs finished atop the SoCon North Division for a third-straight year with a 20-11 record. The team also captured the 2003 SoCon Tournament title and nearly upset Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. ETSU will return all five starters from last year's team, including preseason All-SoCon picks Zakee Wadood, Jerald Fields and Tim Smith.
The Bucs were ranked ahead of mid-major powers such as Creighton (No. 7), UC-Santa Barbara (No. 11), Butler (No. 12), Holy Cross (No. 16), Pepperdine (No. 18) and UNC-Wilmington (No. 23).