Cougars Seeded Second in Freedom

Jimmy Fisher, Reporter

The men’s basketball team is picked to finish second in the Freedom Conference, according to the 2013-2014 pre-season Coach’s Poll as originally reported by the university’s athletics site.

The Cougars earned 40 voting points and even had one first place vote but still find themselves tied with fellow Freedom Conference opponent Delaware Valley College.

DeSales University earned four first-place votes and 45 points and is picked to win the Conference overall at season’s end.

MU was 13-13 overall and 9-5 in the Freedom a year ago. The Free- dom Conference Preseason Poll currently has DeSales at number one and Misericordia tied with Delaware Valley for second place. Wilkes University comes in at third, Farleigh Dickinson-Florham University in fifth, Manhattan- ville College in sixth place, King’s College in seventh and Eastern University finishing off the poll.

Junior forward Cael Evans said the predictions do not surprise him but they also do not discourage him.

“It was kind of expected,” said Evans. “Our school usually does not get the credit we desire and we would rather be the underdog than the team to beat.”

If there are a few things that the men’s team loves doing, it’s proving doubters wrong and continuing to play hard.

The recent poll by the Freedom Conference has helped their cause, he said.

“This definitely motivates us to work hard and prove that we can compete and beat any team in the league on any given night,” said Evans.

Although some teams may allow a preseason ranking or prediction tarnish their positive thinking and mental preparation, Evans said this poll will do no such thing, and the team will continue to go about

their business as if the poll were never released.

“Pre-season polls do not mean anything,” Evans said. “We all understand that our goal is to settle for nothing other than winning the Freedom Championship. Collectively as a team, we are working extremely hard in our practices to improve everyday and build team chemistry.”

The title is just one small goal for Evans and the rest of the men’s squad.

Evans said there are terrific athletes on the team, and there is no reason they cannot do better things than before.

“We have the talent to take us all the way to the national tournament if we work hard to get there,” said Evans. “This will be no easy task, but we have the core of our team back along with many talented freshman that will help us build the bench so we have no drop-off when making substitutions. As a whole, we are all extremely excited for the first tip-off on November 15.”