BURNSVILLE, Minn. – For the first time since 2006, the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team is ranked in the top eight in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Beavers were tabbed seventh (82 points) in the 2011-12 edition of the coaches’ tally after finishing last season in a three-way tie for 10th in the final regular-season rankings with a 11-15 overall and 8-14 conference record. BSU’s player to watch is James Ellisor (Sr., F, Glendale, Ariz.), who is coming off a season where he earned Second-Team All-NSIC honors.
“The ranking is a testament to us finishing strong at the end of last year and having a considerable amount of our roster returning,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “However, we haven’t finished better than 10th the last couple years, despite finishing strong, so it’s a real challenge for this team to do what is expected of them. Looking at the rankings, we are seventh and Wayne State is 11th and we are separated by 28 points, while St. Cloud State is sixth and has 26 points on us. So, there is a definite line in the sand between sixth and the rest of us.”
Augustana College (No. 8 in Sporting News’ preseason national top 10) touts the top spot in the poll with 164 points and nine of the 14 first place votes. Winona State University, last season’s NSIC tournament champion, was second with 158 points and three first place votes. Regular season champion and NCAA Final Four participants Minnesota State University, Mankato had one first place vote and 140 points for third. Concordia University, St. Paul earned the final first place vote and is fourth in the poll with 135 points. Minnesota State University Moorhead rounded out the top five with 122 points.
St. Cloud State University was sixth with 108 points, followed by the Beavers’ 82 points.
Much like the league has shaken out in years past, the middle of the pack is a log jam as 28 points separates Bemidji State and the No. 11 team in the poll, Wayne State College (Neb.) (54 points). Stuck in the middle are Southwest Minnesota State University (78 points), University of Minnesota Duluth (76 points) and Northern State University (67 points).
Augustana’s Cody Schilling was named the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring last season and garnering all-region honors. He was also named a Super 16 Preseason All-America by the Division II Bulletin. NSIC coaches rank each team from 1 to 13 with a first place vote receiving 13 points, second place 12, third place 11, etc. Coaches do not rank their own team or vote for their own players.
BSU’s Player to Watch
James Ellisor (Sr. F, 6-5, 195, Glendale, Ariz. / Glendale Community College)
Ellisor averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and shot 57.9 percent from the field in 2010-11 to earn Second-Team All-NSIC honors. He led the NSIC in field goal percentage, while ranking in the top 10 in steals (4th, 1.6 spg), blocks (T6th, 0.9 bpg), scoring (7th) and rebounding (9th). He started 25 of 26 games for BSU and posted ten 20-plus scoring games and recorded double-figures in all but two contests. Nationally, Ellisor ranked 32nd in field goal percentage.
BSU closed the 2010-11 season winning four of its last six games, which included downing Winona State in the season finale Feb. 26. The Beavers welcome back 10 student-athletes to the 2011-12 squad, including four players who started at least 12 games.
BSU opens the season Nov. 1 with an exhibition contest at University of Minnesota beginning at 7 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).
|2011-12 NSIC Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
||Team (First Place Votes)
||Winona State (3)
||Minnesota State (1)
||Concordia-St. Paul (1)
||St. Cloud State
||Southwest Minnesota State
||University of Mary