Southern Illinois, which has been to a league record-tying six-straight NCAA Tournaments (Cincinnati), is a slam-dunk favorite in this year’s poll, receiving all 39 first-place tallies for 390 points to finish ahead of Bradley (311). The league’s four post-season teams last year, in fact, occupy the top four spots in this year’s poll as SIU (NCAA Sweet 16), Bradley (NIT Second Round), Creighton (NCAA), and Missouri State (NIT) are atop the poll, conducted by league coaches, media, and sports information directors.
No. School (First place votes) Points
2 Bradley 311
4 Creighton 266
9 Drake 80
2007-08 MVC Preseason All-Conference Team
Name, School, Pos., Ht., Wt., Year, Hometown, High School
Eric Coleman, UNI, C, 6-6, 240, Sr.,
Randal Falker, Southern Illinois, F, 6-7, 230, Sr.,
Daniel Ruffin, Bradley, G, 5-10, 162, Sr.,
Honorable Mention: Jeremy Crouch, Bradley; Levi Dyer & Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State; Bryan Mullins & Matt Shaw, Southern Illinois
Preseason Player of the Year -- Randal Falker,
Notably, it is the first time since the 1992-93 season that a school has been a unanimous pre-season pick as the Salukis received all 17 first-place tallies that year. In 1993, SIU finished behind
Pollsters have accurately predicted the league’s regular-season champ only 10 times out of 23 since 1985-86, but the pre-season favorite Salukis can take solace in that 20 of those 23 predicted champs have gone on to post-season play, with 15 of those 20 playing in the NCAAs.
Coleman and Ruffin were each second-team all-MVC picks a year ago. Notably, Coleman is the league’s active leader with 1,128 career points and 716 career rebounds. Ruffin, meanwhile, is the nation’s active leader with 475 assists. He, along with teammate Jeremy Crouch, is the MVC’s top returning scorer -- both averaged 13.8 points per game in 2006-07.
Mitchell was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds for Barry Hinson’s Bears last year.
Three on the league’s pre-season were members of The Valley’s all-Defense Team last year, including Ruffin,
Bradley, picked second in this year’s poll, is gunning for a third-straight post-season trip and boasts the league’s top two returning scorers (Crouch, Ruffin). It’s not known whether the league has ever had teammates who were the top-two returning scorers, but it hasn’t happened since 1975-76 (records prior to that are not complete).
Creighton is picked fourth, with 266 points, and the Bluejays are looking to extend their league record of consecutive post-season tournaments to 11-straight years in 2007-08.
UNI is coming off an 18-win season and finished fifth in the league race last year. The Panthers have three starters back and are picked seventh in this year’s poll, with 197 points.
The Bulldogs have just one starter -- Josh Young -- returning from last year’s 17-win team, while the Aces, too, were hurt by graduation as only two starters are back from a year ago. Drake (Keno Davis) and