Just as expected, defending NCAA Division II National Runners Up and 2006-07 NSIC regular-season and tournament champion Winona State University earned a unanimous vote by the league’s coaches to garner 90 points and first place in the poll for the second year in a row. Northern State was the only other team to receive a first place vote as they earned the second spot with 81 points.
Southwest Minnesota State University held down the third spot for the second year in a row with 69 points while MSU Moorhead was close behind in the fourth spot with 66 points, respectively. Wayne State (Neb.) was picked to finish fifth with 57 points with Concordia-St. Paul on the Wildcats heels in sixth with 51 points. The University of Mary (42) was picked seventh before BSU’s 32 points landed it in eighth in front of Upper Iowa (30) and the University of Minnesota, Crookston (22) who rounded out the poll.
In addition to taking home the top team honor in the poll, Winona State also holds the 2007-08 Preseason Player of the Year. Senior center John Smith (McHenry, Ill.) was voted as the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year by the NSIC Coaches for the second consecutive season. Smith has already been named the Division II Bulletin Preseason Player of the Year this fall.
As a junior the All-American and 2006-07 NSIC Player of the Year paced the conference in rebounding (8.7 p/g) and blocked shots (2.67 p/g) while ranking third in the league with 16.6 points per game.
Ten other student-athletes were recognized in the poll as Preseason Players to Watch. BSU junior forward Alex Smith appeared on the list for the second consecutive season.
The Miami, Fla. native saw time in 27 games last winter earning 25 starts. He led the Beavers in scoring with 10.6 p/g, rebounding with 6.1 r/g and blocked shots with 1.52 b/g. Smith was second on the team in minutes played (29.1). Smith was sixth in the league in rebounds (6.1) and second in the league in block shots (1.52)
Second-year head coach Matt Bowen and his staff have assembled a roster that is made up of nine returners and nine newcomers from seven different states and two different countries.
The Beavers will have its first taste of competition with the first of three exhibition games on Oct. 31 when the team travels to NCAA Division I member North Dakota State University for a 7 p.m. match-up with the Bison. BSU will have two more exhibition games before the regular season as the Beavers will play travel to Northern Iowa on Nov. 4 and UW-River Falls on Nov. 10.
The Beavers open their season on Nov. 16-17 when they travel to St. Cloud, Minn. to play in the St. Cloud Tournament. The Beavers will play St. Cloud State on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. and will wrap up the tournament on Nov. 17 versus Nebraska-Omaha at 6:00 p.m.
2006-07 Preseason NSIC Coaches Poll
1. Winona State - 90 (9)
2. Northern State - 81 (1)
3. Southwest Minnesota State - 69
4. MSU Moorhead - 66
5. Wayne State (Neb.) - 57
6. Concordia-St. Paul - 51
7. University of Mary (N.D.) - 42
8. Bemidji State - 32
9. Upper Iowa - 30
10. Minnesota, Crookston - 22
2006-07 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year
John Smith (Sr. F/C, Winona State)