The Francis Marion University men's basketball squad has been picked to finish fourth in the Peach Belt Conference this coming season according to the annual pre-season poll conducted by the league's coaches and presented by Floor Action.
Augusta University was selected as the preseason favorite receiving eight first-place votes and 116 total points to finish ahead of second-place UNC Pembroke (111). USC Aiken (106) was third with Francis Marion (77) in fourth, followed by Columbus State University (71), Young Harris College (63), Clayton State University (58), Georgia College (56), Lander University (46), University of North Georgia (39), Flagler College (35), and Georgia Southwestern State University (14).
Francis Marion posted a 21-9 record last season, reached the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, and finished in the top three in the PBC standings.
Head coach Gary Edwards welcomes back seven lettermen, including senior point guard Jaquez Smith. Smith quarterbacked last year's squad, scoring 11 points per game and handing out 3.7 assists per contest, while shooting 35.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Also returning are 6-7 sophomore center Winston Hill (9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg), 6-4 senior forward Kendall Wall (5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg), and 6-0 senior guard Douglas Dwight.
The young Patriot roster will include seven freshmen and four sophomores.
Francis Marion will open its 2019-20 campaign on Nov. 8-9 by hosting the Peach Belt Conference/South Atlantic Conference Challenge. FMU will entertain Newberry College on Friday (Nov. 8) at 11 a.m. and Catawba College on Saturday (Nov. 9) at 4 p.m.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams in the pre-season poll.