TERRE HAUTE —
On the heels of an 18-15 record last season, Indiana State was picked to finish seventh in the 2012-13 Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball race.
Coach Greg Lansing's Sycamores must replace four starters, but have Preseason All-MVC first-team pick Jake Odum back at point guard. ISU played in the postseason last March, dropping a first-round game in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Odum is rated the nation's No. 49 point guard by CBSSports.com.
The preseason picks and predictions by a panel of MVC media, sports information directors and coaches was released this morning. At the top of the prognosticated standings was Creighton.
The Bluejays, slated as high as No. 10 nationally in pre-season polls, received 398 of a possible 400 points (38 of 40 first-place votes).
Also, according to an MVC news release, Illinois State received the remaining two first-place tallies and finished second in the poll, receiving 327 total points to edge UNI (316). The defending regular-season champ Wichita State placed fourth in the pre-season picks with 298 total points, while Evansville -- one of five teams that tied for third place in the 2011-12 conference race -- rounds out the upper division with 240 points and a fifth-place slot in the poll.
Drake is picked sixth with 184 points, and the Bulldogs are followed by Indiana State (165), Missouri State (122), Bradley (84) and Southern Illinois (66).
Pollsters have accurately predicted the league’s regular-season champ only 12 times out of 28 since 1985-86, but the pre-season favorite Bluejays can take solace in that 25 of those 28 predicted champs have gone on to post-season play, with 17 of those 25 playing in the NCAAs.
The Bluejays, meanwhile, have been picked to win the MVC eight previous times since 1989-90, and in those years, they won the league three times and finished second five times.
Eight of ten Valley teams return the majority of their starting fives from last season with Indiana State and Wichita State being the exceptions. A total of 41 returning players started 10 or more games in 2011-12, and the league returns 33 projected starters.
Doug McDermott, Creighton (Pre-Season Player of the Year)
Colt Ryan, Evansville
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State
Jake Odum, Indiana State
Ben Simons, Drake