Marlins ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in preseason basketball polls

Marlins ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in preseason basketball polls

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Ranking season has begun for intercollegiate basketball and the nation's number one team according to DIII News is .... Virginia Wesleyan.

That's one poll. has released its preseason poll as well and the Marlins are No. 2.  The Sporting News will release its preason rankings later this month.

Virginia Wesleyan's lofty preseason rankings are based on the fact that 13th year head coach Dave Macedo welcomes back 14 lettermen , including four starters, from last year's 27-4 team that advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) DIII quarterfinals.

"It's always fun to be at the top, but at the end of the day we need to stay at the top and  earn it," said Macedo. "Right now we're in the process of just trying to get better every day.  We have high expectations and hope to be competing for championships year in and year out.  Put simply, we need to remain very humble about all of it, or we will be humbled.  Our coaching staff is anxious to get started with this year's team, but there is so much room for improvement.  We will define our success this year by consistency through performance."

The Marlins, who fell in last year's NCAA quarterfinals to eventual national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater, have advanced to the NCAA event for eight consecutive years and are set on getting their again with an experienced squad.

Seven seniors , including starters Chris Astorga (6-5, F, Suffolk/Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate), Chris Teasley (6-3, G, Newport News/Menchville), and Tre' Ford (5-11, PG, (Falls Church/J.E.B. Stuart), are expected to be in the guiding roles, along with junior  DJ Woodmore (6-3, G, Virginia Beach/Landstown), a 2012 National Association of Basketball Coaches first team All-American.  Woodmore led last year's Marlins in scoring at 16.1 points per game, followed by Astorga at 14.9, Teasley at 11.5, and Ford at 7.0.  Ford, the floor general, led the team with 129 assists and 63 steals.

VWC has graduated Donald Vaughn, the program's all-time leading shot blocker, and last year's leading rebounder (7.1 rpg) and third leading scorer (13.9 ppg).  But, there are other Fish whose waiting times are over and are expected to help fill in that gap.  Individuals like 6-6 juniors Trent Batson (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen) and Colby Heard (Virginia Beach/Tallwood), and 6-5 sophomore Cameron Owens (Centreville/Centreville).

Additionally,  six newcomers will attempt to break into the line-up, including Will Smith III (Norfolk/Norview), a 6-6 senior transfer from Division II University of Indianapolis. 

Experience, depth, quickness, and speed will combine to help stamp Virginia Wesleyan as one of the title favorites in the tough Old Dominion Athletic Conference, as well as one of the top teams in the South Region and the nation.

Virginia Wesleyan opens the 2012-13 season at home in The Jane P. Batten Student Center, hosting the Marlin Tip-Off Tournament.  VWC will face off with Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m.  Pennsylvania's Cabrini College, the 2012 NCAA DIII runner-up, will take on The Apprentice School at 5:30 p.m. on the same day.  The tournament continues on Saturday, Nov. 17, with a consolation game at 2 p.m. and a championship game at 4 p.m.

St. Vincent's Bearcats posted a 19-8 record last year, including a 75-70 loss to Thomas More College in the semifinals of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference championship tournament.  Apprentice produced a 17-11 record, ending the season with a 75-54 to Florida's Ave Maria University in the third-place contest of the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Division I National Championship tournament.  Cabrini finished with a 31-2 record, which included a 63-60 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the NCAA DIII championship game.

The DIII News Preseason Top 25
1.   Virginia Wesleyan
2.   Wisconsin-Whitewater
3.   North Central (Ill.)
4.   Wooster (Ohio)
5.   Cabrini (Pa.)
6.   Franklin & Marshall (Pa.)
7.   Hope (Mich.)
8.   Amherst (Mass.)
9.   William Paterson (N.J.)
10. Illinois Wesleyan
11. Wisconsin-Stevens Point
12. Eastern Connecticut
13. Capital (Ohio)
14. Washington (Mo.)
15. Middlebury (Vt.)
16. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
17. St. Thomas (Minn.)
18. Scranton (Pa.)
19. Farmingdale St. (N.Y.)
20. St. Mary's (Md.)
21. Ohio Wesleyan
22. Trinity (Texas)
23. Hartwick (N.Y.)
24. Messiah (Pa.)
25. Birmingham Southern (Ala.) Preseason Top 25
1.   Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2.   Virginia Wesleyan
3.   Wisconsin-Whitewater
4.   Middlebury (Vt.)
5.   Amherst (Mass.)
6.   North Central (Ill.)
7.   Hope (Mich.)
8.   Illinois Wesleyan
9.   Franklin and Marshall (Pa.)
10. Cabrini (Pa.)
11. St. Thomas (Minn.)
12. Birmingham Southern (Ala.)
13. Wooster (Ohio)
14. Whitworth (Wash.)
15. Wisconsin-Stevens Point
16. Transylvania (Ky.)
17. Ramapo (N.J.)
18. Scranton (Pa.)
19. St. Mary's (Md.)
20. William Paterson (N.J.)
21. Washington (Mo.)
22. Ohio Wesleyan
23. Wesleyan (Conn.)
24. Randolph-Macon (Va.)
25. Hampden-Sydney (Va.)