Pacific Lutheran has been picked to finish fifth by the Northwest Conference head coaches in their annual preseason poll.
The Lutes (12-13 overall), were 9-7 in the conference last season and tied Lewis & Clark for fourth place last season, only to lose out to the Pioneers for a conference postseason tournament berth by tiebreaker.
PLU returns almost its entire team from the 2011-12 season, including seniors Cameron Schilling (13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, honorable mention all-conference), Drew Earnest (11.8 points, 41 percent from three-point range), and Cameron Reister (6.8 points, 38 percent from three-point range).
Gone, however, are second team all-conference point guard James Conti and wing Zachary Klein, the latter who has joined the PLU staff as a volunteer coach this season.
The Whitworth Pirates are the NWC coaches' near unanimous choice to finish atop the Northwest Conference standings once again. Whitworth claimed 70 out of 72 possible points and were chosen number one on all but two ballots. Whitman, which received the other two first-place votes, is picked to finish second, gathering 54 points, despite the loss of the 2011-12 Northwest Conference Most Valuable .
See the entire NWC preseason men's basketball poll here.