The Creighton men’s basketball team has been picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference, according to the preseason poll announced today during the league’s annual Basketball Media Day.
Northern Iowa, which returns all five starters after sharing the regular-season title with the Bluejays last year, earned 38 of 39 first-place votes in the survey of league coaches, beat writers, sports information directors and play-by-play men.
Pollsters have accurately predicted the league¹s regular-season champ only 11 times out of 25 since 1985-86. Two teams have been picked for second place but gone on to take the regular-season crown, Southern Illinois in both 2002-03 and 2006-07.
The preseason poll doesn’t always match the year-end standings. Last year¹s Northern Iowa was picked sixth and ended up in a tie for first. The year before that, Drake was picked ninth, only to finish 28-5 and win the league title.
Northern Iowa collected 38 first-place votes and earned 389 of a maximum 390 points in the preseason poll. Creighton grabbed the remaining first-place vote and was second with 336 points, just ahead of Illinois State, which had
299 points. Southern Illinois was fourth with 272 points, while Wichita State was fifth with 216 points. Bradley was sixth with 208 points while Indiana State was seventh with 173 points. Rounding out the bottom three teams were Drake (105 points), Missouri State (92) and Evansville (55).
The voters also selected a preseason all-conference team, which included six first-team honorees as well as six more honorable-mention picks. Creighton junior P’Allen Stinnett was named to the preseason all-MVC first team for the second consecutive year. Stinnett is Creighton¹s first two-time preseason all-Valley honoree since Nate Funk earned similar accolades prior to the 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns.
For the second straight year, that team is headlined by Preseason MVC Player of the Year Osiris Eldridge from Illinois State. The preseason team also includes repeat selections Stinnett and Josh Young from Drake, and first-time honorees Tony Freeman (Southern Illinois), Adam Koch (UNI) and Kwadzo Ahelegbe (UNI). Honorable-mention preseason all-Valley picks were Kevin Dillard (Southern Illinois), Clevin Hannah (Wichita State), Jake Kelly (Indiana State), Sam Maniscalco (Bradley), Harry Marshall (Indiana State) and Toure¹ Murry (Wichita State).
Creighton went 27-8 last year and extended its league record with a 11th consecutive 20-win season. The Jays return eight lettermen and three starters in search of a 13th straight postseason.
2009-10 MVC Preseason Poll
Rk. School (1st place votes) Total
1. Northern Iowa (38) 389
2. Creighton (1) 336
3. Illinois State 299
4. Southern Illinois 272
5. Wichita State 216
6. Bradley 208
7. Indiana State 173
8. Drake 105
9. Missouri State 92
10. Evansville 55
Story courtesy of Creighton athletics.