Cal State Bakersfield is looking towards a rebuilding year in men's basketball, at least according to early projections.
Entering their final year in the WAC, the Roadrunners were selected to finish tied for sixth in the coaches poll and seventh in the media poll, both of which were revealed Wednesday morning.
CSUB received 109 points in the first media poll, coming in between Utah Valley (133) and Missouri-Kansas City (67). Both the Roadrunners and Utah Valley were rewarded 30 points by conference coaches.
The Roadrunners, who are replacing their top-three scorers, didn't have a player selected to either the All-WAC first or second team. It was the first time since joining the conference in 2013 that CSUB didn't have a player on either preseason squad.
Roadrunner coach Rod Barnes says he isn't putting a lot of stock in the polls, but wasn't surprised to see his team finish in their bottom halves.
"I try to stay away from things we can't control," Barnes said during Wednesday's WAC Media Day video conference. “Our guys, I’m sure, will be motivated when they see we’re seventh. I think any team that’s not probably one or two should be motivated. But we kind of knew coming in with all the guys that we lost and the few returners we had that we would be picked low."
Barnes says he also isn't making a big deal about CSUB's impending departure from the WAC to the the Big West Conference.
"I haven't talked about leaving, I've talked about what we're doing right now," he said. "I've enjoyed the competition, I've enjoyed what the conference offers and what they've done for our university and our program. (But) now that we're leaving the WAC, I don't talk about it a lot with our players."
There was little debate as to who the conference favorite was, as defending champion New Mexico State captured all 20 first-place votes from the press and eight of nine votes from coaches. Conference coaches aren't allowed to vote for their own team.
Grand Canyon, which was projected to finish second in each poll, earned the other first-place vote.
Bakersfield native Milan Acquaah of California Baptist was selected as the conference's Preseason Player of the Year by both media and coaches.