West Liberty Men Picked to Win 4th Straight WVIAC Title

PRINCETON – The West Virginia Conference men’s basketball coaches have made West Liberty the overwhelming favorite to win a fourth consecutive league title.

Coach Jim Crutchfield’s high-flying Hilltoppers collected 14 of the 15 first-place votes on Thursday when the coaches announced the results of their annual preseason poll.

West Liberty finished with 224 points to easily outpace Charleston in the voting. The Golden Eagles, who dropped a thrilling 93-90 overtime decision to West Liberty in last year’s WVIAC Tournament championship game, were second with 201 points while Fairmont State picked up the one remaining first-place vote to come in third with 191 points. West Virginia State and Alderson-Broaddus rounded out the top five.

Wheeling Jesuit was picked seventh.

The Hilltoppers would be the first team to win four straight since Fairmont State won eight in a row from 1971 to 1978 under legendary coach Joe Retton.

West Liberty made a little history last year when it became the first conference team to win back-to-back NCAA Division II regional championships and the Hilltoppers appear poised for another record-setting run with the top eight scorers returning from a team that has posted back-to-back 30-win seasons.