INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has been voted as the frontrunner in the 2018-19 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship race. The Fightin' Engineers received seven first place votes in the coaches' preseason poll, and garnered 96 points overall in the poll. Transylvania University received 86 points and the one first place vote to follow behind Rose-Hulman.
Hanover College has been forecasted as the third place team by receiving 80 points and the final two first place votes in the poll. Anderson's 62 points placed the Ravens fourth and were followed by Mount St. Joseph University (61 points) in fifth position. Franklin College (50), Bluffton University (39), Earlham College (36), Defiance College and Manchester University (20) round out the poll.
Rose-Hulman will be looking to capture its second-straight HCAC title this winter. The Fightin' Engineers posted a 17-10 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the HCAC. Rose-Hulman was defeated by Hanover with a score of 80-70 in the HCAC Tournament Championship last season.
The Fightin' Engineers return a pair of All-HCAC players from last year's team. Sophomore guard and reigning Freshman of the Year Craig McGee (Loveland, Ohio) averaged 14.1 points per game, 5.8 assists per game, and 5.3 rebounds per contest last season as a freshman. Senior forward Charlie Aimone (Terre Haute, Ind.) averaged 12.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as a junior to earn all-conference honors.
The Transylvania men's basketball team will look to challenge Rose-Hulman in the race to the top of the conference standings this winter after finishing fourth in the standings a year ago. The Pioneers finished 17-9 (12-6 HCAC) last season and returns two honorable mention All-HCAC players from last year's team. Transylvania returns senior guard Cooper Theobald (Fort Mitchell, Ky.) and junior guard Gabe Schmitt (Louisville, Ky.) to this year's squad. Theobald averaged 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season, while Schmitt added a 12.1 points and 2.3 assists average per contest.
Hanover strives to make a run at the title this winter after finishing in a tie for first in the standings a year ago. The Panthers ended the season 22-7 overall and 14-4 in conference action. Hanover concluded the season with an 85-77 loss to LeTourneau in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Hanover men's basketball team returns one All-HCAC player from a year ago. Reigning HCAC Player of the Year and two-time preseason all-American, senior guard Cam Fails (Cincinnati, Ohio). Fails has been tabbed as a preseason all-American by Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook and most recently D3hoops.com. The senior averaged a team-high 18.6 points per game last season while shooting 52.1 percent from the field and just under 44 percent from behind the arc.
The opening games on the schedule are slated for November 9 with the first conference games scheduled for December 1.
2018-19 Men's Basketball Players to Watch
Bluffton: Justis Dowdy (Sr., F, Van Wert, Ohio), Jared Wentling (Sr., F, Carey, Ohio), Andrew Renner (Jr., G, Cario, Ohio)
Defiance: Davontae Kinnie (So., G, Fort Wayne, Ind.), Demoines Whitney (So., C, Detroit, Mich.)
Earlham: Darrell Hutchison Jr. (Sr., F, Indianapolis, Ind.), Kenneth Stalling Jr. (Jr., G, Gary, Ind.), Jamel Barnes (So., G, Muncie, Ind.)
Franklin: Kale Morris (Jr., G, Frankfort, Ind.), Sam Gutierrez (So., G, Tipton, Ind.), Borden Kennedy (Jr., G, Attica, Ind.), Danny Goggans (So., F, Indianapolis, Ind.)
Hanover: Cam Fails (Sr., G, Cincinnati, Ohio), Isaac Hibbard (So., G, New Albany, Ind.), Logan Ratts (Jr., G, Martinsville, Ind.)
Manchester: Robbie Johnson (Sr., G, Indianapolis, Ind.), Cornell Hampton (So., F, Griffith, Ind.), Matthew Westman (So., G, Michigan City, Ind.)
Mount St. Joseph: Jake Cropper (Sr., G, Georgetown, Ohio), Liam Rabe (Sr., G, Lakeside Park, Ky.), Mitch Moorhead (Sr., F, Cincinnati, Ohio), Shaun Sullivan (Sr., G, Louisville, Ky.)
Rose-Hulman: Charlie Aimone (Sr., G, Terre Haute, Ind.), Ryuji Aoki (Jr., G, Long Grove, Ill.), John Czarnecki (Jr., F, Bettendorf, Iowa), Craig McGee (So., G, Loveland, Ohio)
Transylvania: Cooper Theobald (Sr., G, Fort Mitchell, Ky.), Gabe Schmitt (Jr., G, Louisville, Ky.), Spencer McKinney (Jr., G/F, Danville, Ky.)