NASHVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE men's basketball was picked sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference's West Division in a poll of OVC basketball coaches and sports information directors released Tuesday at the annual OVC Media Day.
SIUE amassed 44 points and is picked to finish behind Southeast Missouri and Murray State (tied with 117 points), Austin Peay (90 points), UT Martin (66), and Eastern Illinois (58).
"Overall I think it is pretty fair," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "It's not surprising."
Eastern Kentucky was chosen as the heavy favorite in the East Division. The Colonels grabbed 18 of a possible 24 first-place votes and finished with 128 points. Belmont, who received the other six first-place votes, was picked second with 116 points followed by Morehead State (74), Jacksonville State (72), Tennessee State (60), and Tennessee Tech (42).
"I think Southeast Missouri will be very good along with Murray State, despite losing four seniors," Forrester continued. "Eastern Kentucky is solid and Belmont didn't lose a lot either."
Forrester said the preseason poll is only a prediction.
"If the way we predicted was the way it was going to come out, then we might as well not play a game," Forrester said. "We have 16 conference games to play. Our goal is to get into the OVC Tournament and compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament."
Also announced Tuesday was the OVC Preseason All-Conference Team. Southeast Missouri's Tyler Stone was chosen as the OVC Preseason Player of the Year. The Cougars did not have a representative on the All-Conference squad.
The predicted order of finish:
Order of Finish-Points
1. Eastern Kentucky (18 first-place votes)-128
2. Belmont (6)-116
3. Morehead State-74
4. Jacksonville State-72
5. Tennessee State-60
6. Tennessee Tech-42
T1. Southeast Missouri (13 first-place votes)-117
T1. Murray State (11)-117
3. Austin Peay-90
4. UT Martin-66
5. Eastern Illinois-58
6 points awarded for a first-place vote, 5 for second, etc. - Coaches and SIDs could not vote for their own teams