FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The six head coaches have agreed that Yale University is the top team in this year’s Connecticut 6 as the Bulldogs secured the top vote on all six ballots. The annual preseason poll was announced this afternoon as the coaches of Central Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, the University of Hartford, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University, and Yale University prepare their teams for Friday’s Connecticut 6 Classic, hosted by Central Connecticut.
The Bulldogs took the top spot with 36 points while Quinnipiac was next in line with 27 points. Fairfield University secured the third spot with 20 points, followed by Hartford with 18 points. Sacred Heart (16 points) and Central Connecticut (9 points) rounded out the Connecticut 6 poll.
Yale concluded the 2014-15 season with a 22-10 overall record, the most wins since 1948-49. Head Coach James Jones led the Bulldogs to a share of the Ivy League Championship last season. Seniors Justin Sears and Jack Montague will anchor the 2015-16 Bulldogs after playing a key role in last year’s success. Sears led all scorers a year ago with a 14.7 scoring average, helping him secure the Ivy League Player of the Year and an All-America honorable mention berth. Montague recorded 8.3 points per outing.
Quinnipiac, under the guidance of Head Coach Tom Moore, enjoyed another solid season with a 15-15 overall record in 2014-15. Quinnipiac looks to senior James Ford Jr. and sophomore Ayron Hutton for support this year. Ford Jr. averaged 5.3 points and 1.1 assists per game in 2014-15 while Hutton, a MAAC All-Rookie selection in 2014-15, registered 4.6 points and 2.4 assists per contest.
Fairfield finished last year with a 7-24 overall record but looks to build on the experience gained by a team that returns the program’s top three scorers. Senior Marcus Gilbert comes off his best year with the program, netting a personal best 16.4 points per game in 2014-15. Gilbert was named to the All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) preseason first team. Sophomore Tyler Nelson also averaged in double figures a year ago with a 10.4 scoring average, a number which helped him earn MAAC All-Rookie honors.
Hartford posted 14 victories in 2014-15, yet another double-digit win total under Head Coach John Gallagher. The Hawks have a great deal of talent returning to the floor in 2015-16, senior Taylor Dyson and junior Justin Graham. Dyson averaged 8.2 points per game last season, while Graham, who earned America East’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, averaged 6.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest.
Sacred Heart finished the regular season with 15 overall wins and nine Northeast Conference (NEC) victories, the most overall and conference wins since the team went 17-14 and 12-6 in 2008-09. Head Coach Anthony Latina will welcome back Cane Broome this season after the sophomore turned in an outstanding season a year ago. The East Hartford native led all Sacred Heart scorers with 14.5 points per game which helped him earn All-Rookie status from the Northeast Conference (NEC). Tevin Falzon was a force in the lane last year, placing in the NEC’s top four for rebounds (7.6) and blocks (1.5).
Central Connecticut posted a 5-26 overall record last season, and will begin its 21st season under Head Coach Howie Dickenman. Khalen Cumberlander represents the team’s top returning scorer with 9.9 points per game, followed by Brandon Peel’s 9.1 scoring average. The Blue Devils will host the Connecticut 6 for the first time on Friday.
Fairfield University and Yale University will tip off the day with a 3 pm match up, the first time that the two teams will face each other at this event. Quinnipiac University and Sacred Heart University are next on the docket with a 5:30 pm start, another first time match up for these two teams as part of the Connecticut 6 Classic. Central Connecticut and the University of Hartford will finish up the day with an 8 pm start, meeting for the first time in this event since the 2010 Classic.
For ticket information to the 2015 Connecticut 6 Classic, please visit the Central Connecticut State University ticket web site at www.ccsutickets.com or call the ticket office at (203) 832-2583.