Feb. 10, 2012

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FIU and Troy tie for top spot in Sun Belt preseason poll


FIU and Troy finished deadlocked in the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Poll, in voting by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


Both the Panthers and Trojans received four first-place votes and 93 points to grab a share of first. Louisiana-Lafayette earned one first-place vote and 74 points to take third, followed by Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, ULM (one first-place vote) and UALR.


FIU was second in the standings a year ago and returns five position starters. The Panthers earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.


Troy won the regular season crown and reached the NCAA tourney for the third time in the past six years. The Trojans were 30-5 at home at Riddle-Pace Field.


The season kicks off on Friday, Feb. 17, with all 10 teams in action. Conference play begins the weekend of March 16-18 with five league series. The top eight teams will advance to the 2012 Sun Belt Championship from May 23-27 at the Bowling Green Ballpark in Bowling Green, Ky.


2012 Sun Belt Preseason Coaches Poll


Team, Points (First Place) (2011 SBC, Overall Records)

t1. FIU, 93 (4) (20-9-1, 40-20-1)

t1. Troy, 93 (4) (21-9, 43-19)

3. Louisiana-Lafayette, 74 (1) (18-12, 31-27)

t4. Florida Atlantic, 60 (17-13, 32-25)

t4. Western Kentucky, 60 (17-13, 33-24)

6. South Alabama, 56 (15-15, 30-28)

7. Arkansas State, 36 (13-16-1, 27-31-1)

8. Middle Tennessee, 31 (9-21, 18-37)

9. Louisiana-Monroe, 26 (1) (9-21, 24-30)

10. UALR, 21 (10-20, 24-34)