Augustana basketball ready to take next step — to the top
The Augustana College men’s basketball team has a point to make.
The team was recently ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll by D3 News and Augustana and picked to win the CCIW title. The Vikings are coming off a 24-9 season in which they lost the Division III title by one point, falling 79-78 to Babson College.
Augustana will see 12 players returning, including being anchored by senior Dylan Sortillo and junior Chrishawn Orange, who were first- and second-team All-CCIW last year. Orange was also named to the Final Four All-Tournament team. Two other starters will be returning this year.
Orange led the team in scoring, averaging 14 points and three rebounds per game last year. In the postseaso, he climbed to 15 points per game and had a .556 3-point shooting percentage. Sortillo averaged 12 points and nearly four rebounds per game, and led the team with 62 3-pointers.
Augustana opens against Heidelberg University, then plays its first home game against Calvin College. Last year the Vikings won the matchup 79-60. They open conference play on Dec. 6 against North Central College.
Some other big games for the Vikings this year include a Nov. 22 matchup against the University of Illinois and games against Wheaton College, Illinois Wesleyan University and Millikin University. The game against the Illini will be only the third meeting between the two teams and the first since Illinois claimed a 43-17 victory in 1938.
The Illini will be Augustana’s first game against a Division I team since a 2014 game against Bradley University. Augustana will host a pre-game reception at the I Hotel in Champaign for alumni, parents and fans. The reception will get underway at 4 p.m. and the basketball game will tip off at 6 p.m.
In a press release, head coach Grey Giovanine said this will be a challenging year for the Vikings against quality opponents in both conference and nonconference games.
The Vikings came in No. 1 in a coaches preseason CCIW poll after winning their 16th conference title in school history last season.
The regular season will finish on Feb. 20 with a game against Elmhurst College; the CCIW tournament will get underway on Feb. 24.