FORT SMITH, Ark. – The UAFS men’s basketball team is ranked No. 23 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25, which was released Tuesday afternoon.

UAFS, which received 76 points in the voting, is the only Heartland Conference team ranked in the preseason poll and one of only two conference teams to receive votes. Dallas Baptist is among “others receiving votes”.

UAFS is one of six South Central Region teams ranked in the poll – Tarleton State (No. 10), Fort Lewis (No. 15), Angelo State (No. 19), Midwestern State (No. 20) and Colorado School of Mines (No. 21).

West Liberty is ranked No. 1 after receiving 11 of the 15 first-place votes and 394 points. Lincoln Memorial is No. 2 with 368 points, and Bellarmine is No. 3, receiving four first-place votes and 357 points.

Saginaw Valley State is No. 4 (282 points) followed in the Top 10 by Alabama-Huntsville (276), Northwest Missouri State (270), Wheeling Jesuit (257), St. Thomas Aquinas (242), Cal Baptist (210) and Tarleton State (201).

It is the second preseason, national ranking for the Lions. UAFS is ranked No. 4 in nation in the Sporting News NCAA Division II Preseason Top 10, which was released last month.

UAFS also is the preseason favorite to win the Heartland Conference, receiving 15 of the 20 first-place votes in the league’s preseason poll that was released last week.

The Lions will play several nationally-ranked opponents this season. UAFS will play St. Cloud State, which is ranked No. 10 by the Sporting News; West Texas A&M, which is ranked No. 9 by the Sporting News; Midwestern State, which is ranked No. 20 by the NABC; and Cal Baptist, which is ranked No. 9 by the NABC.

UAFS will begin the regular-season on Friday when it competes in the 11th annual Division II Conference Commissioners Association (CCA) Tip-Off Classic at Santiago Canyon College Athletic Complex in East Orange, Calif.

UAFS will play St. Cloud State at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Metro State at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday and West Texas A&M at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The Lions will then compete in the Conference Challenge on Nov. 11-12 at the Claremore (Okla.) Expo Center. UAFS will play Midwestern State at 5 p.m. on Nov. 11 and will play Colorado State-Pueblo at 2 p.m. on Nov. 12.

UAFS will make its home debut at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Stubblefield Center when the Lions host the Central Missouri Mules.