Lincoln Basketball Teams Receive Preseason Rankings
KANSAS CITY -- With the 2012-13 basketball season set to begin just over two weeks, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association has released it preseason coaches and media polls. The Lincoln women's basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the coaches poll and 11th in the media poll while the LU men were selected 15th in both rankings.
The Lincoln women, coming off one of the best seasons in program history, have a new head coach in Nicole Collier. An assistant with last year's squad, which went 15-13 and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAA Championship, Collier takes over a team that returns five seniors, including last year's league steals leader in Arriana Walker. The Blue Tigers won eight league contests last year, breaking a program record, and defeated No. 12 Pittsburg State, 83-77, in the first round of the MIAA Championship on the strength of a 39-point performance by Walker.
That Pittsburg State team has been picked to finish second in the league by both the coaches and the media, while last year's regular season and tournament champion, Washburn, is the preseason favorite. Washburn received eight first-place votes in both rankings, 189 points overall in the coaches poll and 257 points in the media poll to claim the top spot. Pittsburg State received six first-place votes and 178 points in the coaches poll and garnered six first-place votes and 254 points to finish as a close second in each ranking. Emporia State, which earned one first-place nod in the coaches poll and two in the media vote, is third in both polls, earning 171 points in the coaches poll and 235 in the media.
Northeastern State (154 points in the coaches poll, 204 in the media) and Fort Hays State (139, 193) were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in each poll while Central Missouri (135, 193) was chosen sixth in both rankings. In the coaches poll, Truman State received 112 points to be ranked seventh while Central Oklahoma, with 156 points, was ranked seventh in the media poll. Truman garnered 152 in the media ranking to be slotted eighth while Central Oklahoma, with 110 points, was voted eighth in the coaches poll.
Lincoln received 65 points to tie with Missouri Southern for ninth in the coaches poll with Missouri Western right behind at 11th with 64 points. Lindenwood and Southwest Baptist each tied for 12th with 62 points while Northwest Missouri (51) and Nebraska-Kearney (18) rounded out the coaches vote.
In the media poll, it was Lindenwood being selected ninth, receiving 117 points. Southwest Baptist was tabbed 10th (93) while Lincoln was voted 11th with 87 points. Missouri Western claimed 69 points to be ranked 12th while Missouri Southern (65) was voted 13th and Northwest Missouri (60) was chosen 14th with Nebraska-Kearney (35) again rounding out the poll at 15th.
The rankings project that Lincoln would be in the expanded MIAA tournament field, which now features first-round contests at campus sites. The top four teams in the league will receive first round BYEs and will go directly to the quarterfinals in Kansas City, Missouri. The teams that finish fifth through eighth will host the teams that finish ninth through 12th in first round contests, with the winners advancing to play the four seeds at Municipal Auditorium. There are 14 teams eligible for those 12 seeds as Lindenwood, still in transition into becoming an NCAA Division II program, is inelligible for the league tournament in 2012-13.
In the men's coaches poll, Washburn, which won the MIAA tournament a season ago, received 11 first-place votes to be tabbed the preseason favorite with 188 points. The Ichabods earned eight more points than Central Missouri, which received three first-place votes to be picked second at 180 points. Northwest Missouri also received a first-place vote and was ranked third with 170 points while Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State each tied for fourth with 137 points.
Missouri Southern (131 points) was chosen sixth while Central Oklahoma (119) was voted seventh and Lindenwood (107) was selected eighth. Southwest Baptist (89) and Emporia State (73) round out the top 10 with Nebraska-Kearney (70) and Missouri Western (65) were slotted 11th and 12th, respectively. Truman State earned 54 points to be chosen 13th, Northeastern State gained 39 points to be tabbed 14th and Lincoln was picked 15th with 16 points.
The media poll matched the coaches poll through the first three spots. Washburn claimed 17 of 18 first-place votes to earn the top spot while Pittsburg State was picked second with 243 points and Central Missouri was chosen third with 236 points. Missouri Southern, which received the other first-place vote, was picked fourth (204) while Pittsburg State closed the top five with 173 points.
Fort Hays State and Lindenwood each received 171 points to tie for sixth while Southwest Baptist (146) was picked eighth. Central Oklahoma (132) came in ninth, followed by Emporia State (96), Nebraska-Kearney (94), Truman State (84), Missouri Western (74) and Northeastern State (43). Despite sweeping Missouri Western last season and picking up victories over Southwest Baptist and Truman State, Lincoln was again voted 15th in the media poll, receiving 21 points.
The Lincoln men's basketball team will play at Southern Illinois on Saturday while the LU women play at Missouri next Tuesday, with both games being exhibition contests. The 2012-13 college basketball season officially begins on November 9, when the LU men, led by fourth-year head coach John Redmond, play Minnesota State-Moorhead in the Southwest Baptist Classic in Bolivar, Missouri. The women kick off their season the next day, hosting William Woods on November 10.