BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team finished last season winners in five of its last six games, en route to a 12-15 overall and 8-12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference mark, good for 11th place in the final conference standings. The 12 wins was the most under fifth-year head coach Matt Bowen, as BSU has increased its win total in each of his seasons at the helm. Wednesday, the 2010-11 edition of the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released, slotting the Beavers 10th with 64 points. BSU senior forward Pat Cassidy (St. Paul, Minn.) was named the team’s player to watch.
Winona State University was tabbed as the team to beat, earning 10 first-place votes and 165 total points. NCAA National Semifinalist and NSIC Tournament Champions St. Cloud State University were second with the remaining four first-place votes and 157 points. Minnesota State University, Mankato was third (143 points) after earning the title of regular season champions last season. Augustana College (138 points) and University of Mary (119 points) rounded out the top five.
SCSU senior guard Taylor Witt was the league’s preseason player of the year after being named to the all-conference first team last season and scoring a career-high 43 points in the Huskies’ NCAA Elite Eight victory against Midwestern State University.
Cassidy is the lone senior on a team that sports four juniors (two transfers), eight sophomores and four freshmen. He will be asked to provide leadership on and off the court in 2010-11, while concentrating on being consistent offensively and defensively. Last season Cassidy played and started in 26 games, averaging 26.3 minutes per contest. He posted 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. Cassidy has endured the growing pains of a Bemidji State basketball program that has improved its record in each of the last four seasons, going 12-15 last season. He has played in 80 games in the green in white, averaging 7.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.
The Beavers begin the regular season on the road at Michigan Tech University Nov. 16 and Finlandia University Nov. 17. The home opener is Nov. 23 against University of Wisconsin-Stout, beginning at 7 p.m. BSU opens the NSIC schedule at home with a four game homestand, starting with Minnesota State University Moorhead Dec. 3 at 8 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).
|2010-11 NSIC Preseason Coaches' Poll
|| Team (First Place Votes)
|1|| Winona State (10)
|2|| St. Cloud State (4)
|3|| Minnesota State
|6|| Southwest Minnesota State
|8|| Northern State
|9|| Wayne State
|10|| Bemidji State
|11|| MSU Moorhead
|13|| Upper Iowa