Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney basketball teams have been picked to finish third (women) and 12th (men) in the 2021-22 MIAA preseason coaches’ and media polls. Both polls were released in conjunction with “Media Day” in Kansas City. Head coached from all 14 schools were in attendance along with a few student-athletes. The event took place at the College Basketball Experience. For comments from head coaches Carrie Eighmey and Kevin Lofton visit the The MIAA Network.
On the women’s side, both polls had the top three being Fort Hays State, Central Missouri and UNK. The Tigers won the 2021 MIAA regular season title, the Lopers took the 2021 MIAA Tournament crown with the Jennies beating both in the NCAA Tournament to win the Central Region. All three will have veteran squads in 2021-22. In the coaches’ poll (head coaches cannot vote for their own team), Hays tallied 159 points with UCM at 154 and UNK at 153. The Tigers picked up six first place votes with the Jennies and Lopers receiving three apiece and Emporia State picking up the final two. The media poll was similar as Hays and UCM tied for first (118 points) with the Jennies having five first place votes to the Tigers four. UNK was at 112 points, 14 ahead of E-State.
Two-time defending national champion Northwest Missouri State is number one on the men’s side with Washburn the definitive number two. Northwest won the 2021 MIAA regular season title with the Ichabods hitting a half-court buzzer beater to nip the Bearcats for the MIAA tourney crown. Northwest tallied 169 points (13 1st place) in the coaches’ poll with WU at 157 (one 1st place). Central Oklahoma came in third (141) with UNK tallying 39 points to come in ahead of both Northeastern State and Newman. The media poll was similar; Northwest one (126; all nine 1st place) and Washburn (116) two with the Lopers 12th (28) and ahead of NSU and NU.
Loper Team Information
2020-21 Women’s Record: 23-4 (19-3 MIAA)
Returning Starters: Four
Returning 2020 All-MIAA Players: G Haley Simental (S-Gr.); F Elisa Backes (R-Jr.), C Brooke Carlson (R-Jr.); F Klaire Kirsch (R-Jr.)
2021-22 Opener: Nov. 12 (Fri.) vs. Minnesota-Crookston in Maryville, Mo.
2021-21 Men’s Record: 8-14 (8-14 MIAA)
Returning Starters: Three
Returning 2021 All-MIAA Players: F Austin Luger (S-Sr.)
2021-22 Opener: Nov. 12 (Fri.) @ Minnesota-Duluth