CREIGHTON SOPHOMORE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT: According to the Oct. 27 edition of the Omaha World Herald, Creighton is counting on increased playing time from 6-foot 9-inch sophomore center Zach Hanson.
The Pierre, S.D. native flashed potential last season, averaging 2.8 points while playing an average of five minutes in 24 of Creighton’s 35 games.
“He’s made tremendous strides,” said Creighton Coach Greg McDermott. “He’s a much more consistent player, and his activity offensively and defensively have improved…he’s worked really hard.”
NORTHERN ARIZONA ROAD WARRIORS: Northern Arizona will play only four of its 13 nonconference games at home. The Lumberjacks will play all four games of the Emerald Coast Classic on the road in a seven-day span, visiting Mississippi Nov. 23 and Middle Tennessee State Nov. 29 before traveling to Florida.
“The trips are difficult,” said Lumberjacks head coach Jack Murphy of conference play, which includes long bus rides. “When we go back to Ohio or Florida, they are not that difficult trips. You are able to simulate the hard, difficult road trips you are going to have in conference without all the extras involved.”
BEARCATS WELCOME BACK ELLIS: Bill Koch of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that 6-foot 10-inch junior center Octavius Ellis has returned to Cincinnati a new man after a two-year absence from the team
UC coach Mick Cronin, who had planned to redshirt Ellis during his freshman year after Ellis suffered a broken hand in November 2011, said he saw a different player when he watched Ellis play last season in the junior college national tournament.
“I wished I could have taken him out of there to the NCAA tournament with us,” Cronin said.
MORE PRESEASON POLLS: Mississippi was picked to finish sixth in the Southeast Conference in a preseason poll of men’s basketball media members.
In addition, guard Jarvis Summers was named to the preseason All-SEC first team. Summers is the active SEC career leader with 1,233 points scored and 370 assists, and is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 17.3 points and 3.8 assists a game. Earlier he was SEC preseason player of the year by CBSSports.com.
Kentucky was the preseason pick to win the league, followed by Florida and Arkansas in the top three. The rest of the poll was LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri, Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi State.
The Rebels finished 19-14 last season including a 9-9 sixth-place mark in the SEC. Ole Miss lost leading scorer Marshall Henderson, but returns Summers and forward Aaron Jones while adding in a series of transfers (most notably forward M.J. Rhett and guard Stefan Moody) to boost the talent level.
Creighton was picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll of BIG EAST Conference coaches. It snapped the program’s streak of 14 straight years being picked fourth or higher in the preseason poll of its conference, a remarkable testament to Creighton’s consistency and ability to live up to lofty expectations that is evidenced by the team’s streak of 17 straight top-four finishes in the year-end standings. Defending league champion Villanova was a unanimous favorite with 81 points, as coaches are not able to vote for their own team in the poll.
Northern Arizona was picked to finish third in the Big Sky Conference preseason poll conducted by the league’s coaches and media. The Lumberjacks, receiving two first–place votes, earned 99 points. Weber State was picked first with 117 points followed by Eastern Washington with 100 points.
Eastern Illinois was selected to finish fifth in the West Division of the Ohio Valley Conference in a preseason poll of head coaches and sports information directors. Murray State was the pick to win the West Division, while Belmont was chosen to win the East.
The American Athletic Conference will release its preseason poll during the league’s Media Day Oct. 29.
Oct. 21: Freshman draws rave reviews
Oct. 23: Mick Cronin interview
Oct. 22: Meet Ronnie Harrell
Oct. 22: Artino Motivated
Oct. 23: Creighton Media Day
Oct. 26: Scrimmage vs. Iowa
Oct. 27: Can Blue Jays Stay Healthy
Oct. 21: Ohio Valley poll
Middle Tennessee State
Oct. 22: Experienced Underclassman
Oct. 25: Renovated Arena
North Carolina Central
Oct. 22: Preseason Press Conference
Oct. 20: Andy Kennedy Question & Answer
Oct. 22: Summers on All-SEC Team
Oct. 24: Coach Kennedy Goes The Distance
For more information, please contact Media Coordinator Mike Mahon at 515-423-6995, or firstname.lastname@example.org