SPRINGFILED, Mo–The college basketball season will tip off in about three weeks.
And Wednesday, the Missouri Valley Conference released its preseason mens poll, and the Dogs are barking loudly.
That is the Drake Bulldogs.
For the first time ever, Drake is picked to win the Valley.
Dana Ford’s Missouri State Bears are picked to finish fourth.
The Bears return all five starters from a team that was 17-7 last season.
Isiaih Mosley and Gaige Prim both were named first team preseason All-Valley.
Mosley led the conference in scoring last season averaging nearly 20 points per game.
Ford has added some talent but says the formula remains the same.
“Well we’re deeper for sure. But I think realistically, a lot of coaches at the beginning of the year talk about how many people they’re going to play. I’m not one of those guys. In the second half, January and February we’ll play our seven or eight guys. We’re fortunate to have a non-league schedule this year, a full non-league schedule. That will allow some of those things to shake out. So I can see a nine man rotation early, then come March it’s the usual guys,” said Ford.
Here’s look at the poll voted on by league coaches, sports information directors and selected media.
Drake picked up 29 of the 43 first place votes.
Loyola is second just ahead of Northern Iowa.
Missouri State is solid at four.
Southern Illinois is fifth.
Bradley is sixth, then Valpo, Evansville and Indiana State are close at 7, 8 and 9.
Illinois State is picked tenth.