Defending champion Southern Utah picked to finish middle of the pack this year

Southern Utah University, last years' Big Sky Conference champion, is picked in preseason polls to finish sixth this year, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 18, 2017 | File photo courtesy of Photo courtesy SUU Athletics, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Despite being the defending champion, Southern Utah University didn’t receive much love from the media or coaches at the annual Big Sky Conference media day. The Thunderbirds were picked to finish sixth this fall in both polls.

Eastern Washington was picked by both groups to win the conference with 2017 conference co-champion Weber State second. Northern Arizona was picked to finish third.

The media poll had eight different teams, including Southern Utah, receiving at least one first-place vote.

The preseason polls haven’t been that accurate in the past. The only time the favorite won the conference was in 2014 when Eastern Washington prevailed. SUU was picked to finish seventh last year.

Southern Utah finished last season at 9-3 and returns a solid nucleus of starters from that team. Five players are listed as preseason all-conference choices.

Media poll

  1. Eastern Washington 651 (27)
  2. Weber State 636 (19)
  3. Northern Arizona 535 (1)
  4. Montana 496 (2)
  5. Idaho 483 (3)
  6. Southern Utah 449 (1)
  7. Sacramento State 415
  8. Montana State 391 (1)
  9. UC Davis 331 (1)
  10. Idaho State 170
  11. Cal Poly 169
  12. Northern Colorado 166
  13. Portland State 103

Coaches poll

  1. Eastern Washington 134 (6)
  2. Weber State 124 (3)
  3. Northern Arizona 121 (3)
  4. Idaho 101 (1)
  5. Sacramento State 94
  6. Southern Utah 91
  7. Montana 82
  8. Montana State 76
  9. UC Davis 64
  10. Cal Poly 40
  11. Northern Colorado 30
  12. Idaho State 29
  13. Portland State 21

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