For the third time in six seasons, the Creighton men’s basketball team has been picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference, according to the preseason poll announced today during the league’s annual Basketball Media Day.
Creighton, which returns three starters from last year’s 23-16 squad, earned 29-of-40 first-place votes in the survey of league coaches, beat writers, sports information directors and play-by-play men.
Pollsters have accurately predicted the league’s regular-season champ 12 times out of 27 since 1985-86, including 2008-09 when Creighton backed up its preseason prediction of a title. This is the eighth time Creighton has been tabbed as the preseason favorite (also 1989-90, 1990-91, 1989-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2008-09), easily the most in league history. Three of those teams finished first (1990-91, 2000-01, 2008-09), while the other four took second place. Four of seven Bluejay squads went on to win the MVC Tournament (1990-91, 1998-99, 2002-03, 2006-07) and five of the seven squads played in the NCAA Tournament (1990-91, 1998-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07).
Creighton collected 29 first-place votes and earned 389 of a maximum 400 points in the preseason poll. Wichita State earned seven first-place votes and was second with 350 points, just ahead of third-place Indiana State (331, 4). Northern Iowa was fourth with 245 points while Evansville was fifth (234) and defending league champ Missouri State sixth (216). Rounding out the bottom four teams were Drake (159), Illinois State (111), Southern Illinois (90) and Bradley (75).
The voters also selected a preseason all-conference team, which included five first-team honorees as well as five more honorable-mention picks. Creighton forward Doug McDermott was named to the MVC’s preseason all-Valley squad, becoming just the fifth sophomore on record to earn such an accolade. McDermott averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season to lead Creighton and rank among the top five league-wide.
The MVC preseason all-conference team is headlined by returning Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year Kyle Weems from Missouri State. The preseason team also includes Toure’ Murry (Wichita State), Jake Odum (Indiana State) and Colt Ryan (Evansville). Honorable-mention preseason all-Valley picks were Anthony James (UNI), Rayvonte Rice (Drake), Mamadou Seck (Southern Illinois) and the Creighton duo of Gregory Echenique and Antoine Young.
Creighton went 23-16 last year and extended its league record with a 15th straight postseason bid. The Jays return 10 lettermen and three starters and were the only team in the MVC to receive votes in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll.
For season ticket information about Creighton Men’s Basketball, call (402) 280-JAYS.
2011-12 MVC Preseason Poll
Rk. School (1st place votes) Total
1. Creighton (29) 389
2. Wichita State (7) 350
3. Indiana State (4) 331
4. Northern Iowa 245
5. Evansville 234
6. Missouri State 216
7. Drake 159
8. Illinois State 111
9. Southern Illinois 90
10. Bradley 75