The Big Sky Conference released its annual preseason polls for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball season last week.
The Idaho State women’s basketball team, who has fallen in the conference championship game the last two seasons in Reno, was picked to finish eighth in the Coaches Poll and seventh in the Media Poll. The men’s team was picked 10th by the coaches and 11th by the media in a conference that features 12 teams.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team in the poll and the media poll was made up of sports information directors and media members from within the conference. Media members were permitted to vote for all 12 teams.
The University of Idaho, who picked up a combined 22 first place votes in the men’s polls, was picked to win the conference, while Northern Colorado was picked by both the coaches and the media to win the Big Sky on the women’s side.
The men’s side saw a combined five teams receive first-place votes. Idaho, who brings back its entire starting lineup from last year’s 19-win season, lead the charge with 22 combined first-place votes and was the only team over 200 points in the media poll.
North Dakota, who won both the regular season and conference tournament on the men’s side last season, was picked to finish sixth by the coaches and fifth by the media, and collected one first-place vote in the media poll.
Weber State and Montana both received three first-place tallies in the media poll, but only Weber State received a first-place nod, which came from the coaches.
Montana State, who was picked to place fourth in both polls, returns the 2017-18 Preseason MVP in Tyler Hall, who averaged 23 points-per game for the Bobcats last season. Montana State also returns Harald Frey, the conference’s Freshman of the Year last season.
No Idaho State player on either side was picked as a First-Team Preseason All-Conference selection.
A total of five teams on the women’s side received first-place votes from the two polls. Northern Colorado lead the way with a combined 17 votes, while Montana picked up a combined four first-place votes and North Dakota collected three combined votes.
Montana State, who won the conference tournament last season, only received first-place votes in the media poll. Portland State collected its only first-place votes in the media poll despite being picked sixth in the coaches and eighth in the media.
Eastern Washington’s Delaney Hodgins was voted as the women’s preseason conference MVP.
Last season, Idaho State’s men’s team went 3-15 in conference play and fell to Sacramento State in the first-round of the conference tournament after going 11-4 in conference play two seasons ago and clinching a first-round-bye, but falling to North Dakota in the quarterfinals.
The women have gone 6-2 in Reno during the two years the tournament has been held in Nevada, making runs to the championship game as a nine and six-seed.
The tournament will move to Boise following this season.
The women open their season November 4 against Northwest Nazarene University in Reed Gym while the men open in Tempe on November 10 against Arizona State.