Mercer hoops' teams pegged as SoCon preseason favorites

Mercer Basketball hits the floor Thursday night for their annual tip off event. /(Luke Hetrick, WGXA)

MACON, GA -- Bob Hoffman and Susie Gardner have developed a reputation building championship teams.

For Hoffman's men, the Bears are three years removed from an Atlantic Sun Conference Title and a first-round upset over Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Gardner's ladies have garnered more recent success claiming back-to-back Southern Conference regular season titles with two consecutive trips to the WNIT.

Expectations remain high at Mercer as both the men's and women's basketball teams were tabbed as the preseason favorites in the Southern Conference.

The Mercer Women topped Chattanooga in both the coaches and media poll. The Bears return all five starters including reigning two-time league player of the year Kahlia Lawrence. The senior along with guards Sydni Means and Keke Calloway were pegged on the preseason all-conference team.

Gardner's squad opens the season Nov. 10 at UCF.

After a 15-17 campaign a season ago, Bob Hoffman's Mercer Bears are poised for a breakout season.

With all five starters including their top seven scorers from last season, Mercer earned was the preseason favorite in the coaches poll opposed to sixth in the media poll.

Senior two-guard Ria'n Holland was tabbed as a preseason all-conference selection.

Mercer opens the season Nov. 10 at UCF. Fans can meet both teams Thursday night at 6:30 at Hawkins Arena for the annual Tip off Event.

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