Feb. 12, 2011

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Florida Atlantic flies atop Sun Belt preseason poll


After sharing the regular-season title a season ago, Florida Atlantic is tabbed the favorite in the Sun Belt Conference preseason poll, as voted by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


The Owls, under head coach John McCormack (right), picked up six of the 10 first-place votes and 95 points to take the top spot. Defending tourney champion FIU got one first-place vote and 85 points to place second, edging Louisiana-Lafayette, defending regular-season co-champ which garnered two first-place votes and 82 points. Western Kentucky was fourth, followed by Troy, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, ULM (with one first-place vote) and UALR.


FAU reached the championship game of the Gainesville Regional a season ago. The Owls have been to the NCAA Tournament seven times in the past 12 years. FAU returns eight position starters and two starting pitchers.


The Sun Belt had eight teams in the top 100 in the final 2010 NCAA RPI. Only four other conferences did better than that. The Sun Belt was seventh in conference RPI, its fifth straight season with a top 10 finish.


The 2011 seasons starts on Friday, Feb. 18, with all 10 SBC teams in action. Conference play begins on Friday, March 18, with five series. The 2011 Sun Belt Tournament will be May 25-29 at Warhawk Field in Monroe, La.


Sun Belt Preseason Poll

Team, Points (First Place) (2010 SBC, Overall Records)

1. Florida Atlantic, 95 (6) (21-9, 37-24)

2. FIU, 85 (1) (17-13, 36-25)

3. Louisiana-Lafayette, 82 (2) (21-9, 38-22)

4. Western Kentucky, 64 (16-14, 35-23)

5. Troy, 52 (16-14, 36-25)

6. Arkansas State, 48 (16-14, 30-28)

7. Middle Tennessee, 41 (18-12, 35-23)

7. South Alabama, 41 (17-13, 32-27)

9. ULM, 26 (1) (7-23, 17-38)

10. UALR, 16 (12-16, 29-25)


(photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations Office)