ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- For the fourth time in seven seasons, the Creighton men's basketball team has been picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference, according to the preseason poll announced Monday morning.
Creighton, which returns four starters from last year's 29-6 squad, claimed 38-of-40 first-place votes in the survey of league coaches, beat writers, sports information directors and play-by-play men to earn 398 of a maximum 400 points in the poll. The 398 points is a league record, while the 38 first-place votes are tied for second-most in the league's 28-year history of preseason polls. Twenty-five of the 28 teams picked to win the MVC have later advanced to the postseason, including 17 NCAA Tournament bids.
Pollsters have accurately predicted the
league's regular-season champ 12 times out of 28 since 1985-86, including 2008-09 when Creighton backed up its preseason prediction of a title. This is the ninth time Creighton has been tabbed as the preseason favorite (also 1989-90, 1990-91, 1989-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2011-12), easily the most in league history. Three of those teams finished first (1990-91, 2000-01, 2008-09), while the other five took second place. Five of eight Bluejay squads went on to win the MVC Tournament (1990-91, 1998-99, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2011-12) and six of the eight squads played in the NCAA Tournament (1990-91, 1998-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2011-12). Creighton is the first team to be picked to win the MVC in consecutive seasons since Illinois State in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Illinois State earned the remaining two first-place votes and was second with 327 points, just ahead of third-place Northern Iowa (316). Wichita State was fourth with 298 points while Evansville was fifth (240) and Drake sixth (184). Rounding out the bottom four teams were Indiana State (165), Missouri State (122), Bradley (84) and Southern Illinois (66).
The voters also selected a preseason all conference team, which included five first-team honorees as well as four more honorable mention picks. Creighton forward Doug McDermott picked up Preseason MVC Player of the Year accolades and was named to the MVC's preseason all-Valley squad. He is the
nation's only returning First Team All American and the defending MVC Player of the Year after averaging 22.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season.
Joining McDermott on the preseason All-Valley list were Colt Ryan (Evansville), Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State), Jake Odum (Indiana State) and Ben Simons (Drake). Creighton big man Gregory Echenique earned Preseason Honorable-Mention All-MVC accolades for a second straight season, and was joined by Wichita State's Carl Hall and the Northern Iowa duo of Seth Tuttle and Anthony James.
Creighton went 29-6 last year and extended its league record with a 16th straight postseason bid. The Jays return 10 lettermen and four starters and have been ranked No. 16 by the Associated Press and No. 15 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll.
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2012-13 Preseason MVC Poll
Rank School (1st place votes) Points
1. Creighton (38) 398
2. Illinois State (2) 327
3. Northern Iowa 316
4. Wichita State 298
5. Evansville 240
6. Drake 184
7. Indiana State 165
8. Missouri State 122
9. Bradley 84
10. Southern Illinois 66
Preseason All-MVC Team
Doug McDermott, Creighton (Preseason Player of the Year)
Jake Odum Indiana State
Ben Simons Drake
Colt Ryan Evansville
Gregory Echenique, Creighton
Anthony James Northern Iowa
Seth Tuttle Northern Iowa
Carl Hall Wichita State