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WINTHROP, Mass. – The Albertus Magnus College men's basketball program has received nine of a possible 11 first-place votes and 118 points overall to lead the way in the 2017-18 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches. Emmanuel College was tabbed in the seventh slot.

The Falcons, fresh off of their sixth GNAC Championship in eight years last season over Lasell College, open up the 2017-18 campaign on Saturday, November 18 at Centennial Conference preseason favorite Swarthmore.

Under 11th-year head coach Mitch Oliver, Albertus will then welcome NEWMAC foes WPI and defending national champion Babson to the Messer Center on Nov. 25 and Nov. 29, respectively. Conference play kicks off for Albertus on Saturday, December 2 against newest GNAC member Regis (Mass.).

Falcons senior and reigning GNAC Player of the Year Jaqhawn Walters returns after averaging 20.3 points on 54.4 percent shooting and 13.3 rebounds a year ago. Just last week, the Hartford, Conn. native was selected as a d3hoops.com Preseason All-America Team Honorable Mention.

Johnson & Wales University, which won the 2016 GNAC Championship and made an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run that March, finished second in the poll with 103 points and one first-place vote. The Wildcats open up this Saturday, Nov. 18 at Virginia Wesleyan of the ODAC. JWU and Albertus will meet up twice in February.

Mount Ida College took the third spot in the poll with 91 points and the final first-place nod. Saint Joseph's College of Maine (83 points) and Lasell (79 points) rounded out the top-five. 

Emmanuel returns six players from last season's roster while welcoming a plethora of new talent for the 2017-18 campaign. To view the complete poll results, please see below.

The GNAC Tournament will tip off with quarterfinal action on Tuesday, February 20. Be sure to catch all of the action live on thegnac.tv or watch your favorite GNAC teams on one of our four custom digital streaming apps.

2017-18 GNAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
1. Albertus Magnus (9) - 118
2. Johnson & Wales (1) - 103 
3. Mount Ida (1) - 91
4. Saint Joseph's Maine - 83
5. Lasell - 79
6. Regis (Mass.) - 62
7. Emmanuel - 57
8. Norwich - 50
9. Suffolk - 44
10. Anna Maria - 23
11. Rivier - 16 

*Release courtesy of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference