A lot of pressure has been put on the Elon Men's Basketball team for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.
With all five starters (Lucas Troutman, Ryley Beaumont, Kevin Blake, Jack Isenbarger, and Sebastian Koch) returning from last year, the expectations are high for a squad which went 21-12 last year.
"Last year left a bitter taste in our mouths, not winning the SoCon tournament," Isenbarger said. "Our guys have just come back even hungrier, ready to go get a title."
Isenbarger said the team is a lot deeper than in years past and he is very impressed with the freshman class and how far they have come in such a short period of time.
USA Today and the preseason SoCon Coaches Poll all have Elon winning the North Division title and representing the Southern Conference in the NCAA tournament this year. And with expectations set so high, Isenbarger believes the team can stay healthy, work hard and bring a SoCon title back to Elon.
"We've got the talent, we've got the experience, and we won't settle for anything but a SoCon championship," he said. "I think we can surprise some people, and we can live up to those expectations."
But the road to the SoCon title will certainly not be easy. Both Davidson and Western Carolina will be tough competition for the Phoenix come conference play and the SoCon tournament in March.
Staying healthy is something head coach Matt Matheny needs to worry about before the season even begins. Already, two of his five starters, Isenbarger (foot) and Koch (knee), are banged up. But good news for the Phoenix; both Koch and Isenbarger are expected to be ready to go for opening night.
The Men's Basketball team will open the season on Monday, Nov. 4 in an exhibition game against Lynchburg in Alumni Gym. First tip set for 7p.m.