BURNSVILLE, MN -
The University of Sioux Falls men's basketball team was picked 10th out of 16 in the league – and sixth in the NSIC South Division - as the official preseason poll and preseason awards were revealed on Wednesday by the league office.
The Cougars received 98 points in the overall poll. In the South division voting, USF received 20 points, just one behind Concordia-St. Paul. USF went 12-15 overall last season (8-14, NSIC).
Minnesota State (225 points) was picked to defend its league title in the poll of conference head coaches. The defending NSIC Overall, South Division and NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament Champions snagged all 15 first place votes (coaches cannot vote for own team). St. Cloud and Winona State (191) finished in a tie for second. Augustana College was slated fourth, while Southwest Minnesota State (174), MSU Moorhead (158), Concordia-St. Paul (124), Minnesota Duluth (115) and Northern State (115) rounded out the top-eight.
St. Cloud State was selected as the top team in the North Division earning 49 points and seven first-place votes.
Minnesota State's Assem Marei (South Division) and Minnesota Duluth's Brett Ervin (North Division) were selected as the Preseason Players of the Year.
USF’s “Player to Watch” is senior guard Derek Brown. Brown made 17 starts as a junior and the Clark (S.D.) product averaged 10.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 per contest last season while scoring double-digits in nine of the Cougars’ first 13 games (15 overall).
Brown drilled 58 three-pointers to rank sixth in the NSIC and his .443 clip from long range was the league’s fourth-best mark. He nailed a career-high six 3-pointers en route to a 20-point outing in USF’s win over U-Mary (2/9) and would connect on three or more 3-point field goals attempts on 10 separate occasions. Brown is a career 88.3% shooter from the free throw line and he enters his senior campaign with 662 career points (7.4 ppg average).
The NSIC regular season champion will be based on the 22-game league schedule. Each team will play teams in their division twice (14) and teams in the other division once (8). An NSIC North and South Division Champion will also be awarded. Divisional standings will also be based on all 22 NSIC contests played. In the case of a tie, co-champions will be awarded.
The 16-team NSIC / Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championships are set to take place Sat.-Tues., March 1-4 at the Sanford Health Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. First round games will be played on the campus of the top eight seeds on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
The 2013-14 men’s basketball season gets underway on Friday, November 8 and NSIC action on the week of November 25. The Cougars open the season at home on Nov. 9 against Wisconsin-Superior.
DISCLAIMER: The views of the author are not necessarily those of this station, its owners, officers, agents or employees.