The picks I faxed to the MVC office today:
1. Creighton - Bluejays getting tons of national love, and it’s deserved. They should be a fun team to watch and should carry the MVC in the national rankings. Their big question is replacing point guard Antoine Young. Any improvement in defense is a bonus.
2. Wichita State - WSU coach Gregg Marshall has a big job to integrate the newcomers and blend all the talent and egos into a cohesive unit. This strikes me as a team that will be much better in February than November.
3. Illinois State - First-year coach Dan Muller steps into a sweet situation with a good team and a town that loves him from his days as a Redbird.
4. Northern Iowa - Lots of good players and they will be a tough out every night. Not sure the Panthers possess the inside game to move into the top three. Could be the reverse of WSU – a team that doesn’t improve dramatically from early to late.
5. Evansville - Did the Aces find a big man who can help Colt Ryan?
6. Drake - The Bulldogs could make a big move if Seth VanDeest is healthy and improved.
7. Indiana State - Who helps Jake Odum? Manny Arop? If Odum returns to good health, the Sycamores will be dangerous enough to move up in the standings.
8. Bradley - The bottom three teams could present a major problem for the MVC and its RPI. I see all three struggling mightily. Bradley should be the best of the bunch with a reasonable amount of size and experience.
9. Missouri State - Injury to Jarmar Gulley is a killer.
10. Southern Illinois - It will take Barry Hinson two or three seasons to dig out of the mess he inherited.
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Colt Ryan, Evansville
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State
Ben Simons, Drake
Carl Hall, Wichita State
Player of the Year - McDermott