The Central Michigan men’s basketball team was picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference West Division this season when the preseason poll was released Tuesday.
Head coach Keno Davis said he is not too focused on rankings but concentrating on continuing to improve.
“I think, like any coach, whether you are picked at the top or at the bottom or anywhere in between, you don’t put a whole lot of stock in the preseason rankings,” Davis said. “I haven’t seen the other teams during this time of year, and other teams haven’t seen us, but we are busy working on improving as a team, and hopefully we continue to improve and are a better team by the time MAC play roles around.”
Davis acknowledged he has a young team and said he was not surprised by where it was picked in the rankings but still expects his team to be able to compete in every game.
“We understand we are a young team and that was going to be a fact that people were not going to expect much out of us, but we expect a lot out of our team,” Davis said. “We expect to keep getting better every day, and where that has us finishing in the conference, I don’t know, but I like our chances when we step out on the court each and every night.”
CMU will return only four players from last season.
“It is unique to have so many newcomers, let alone freshmen,” Davis said. “But we really wanted to try and build this for the long term, rather than take a lot of transfers or two-year players.”
The poll was done by a 24-person MAC news media panel.
Toledo was picked to win the MAC West, receiving 20 first-place votes.
Eastern Michigan was selected to finish second and received four first-place votes.
Last season, EMU was selected to finish at the bottom of the pack but won the division.
“Last year, we were picked last on our side and 11th overall (like CMU), and we finished first and fifth overall,” EMU head coach Rob Murphy said in a teleconference. “You have to play the games. We were able to catch a few breaks last season, and we ended up winning the MAC West. I don’t put stock in the polls; it’s about where you finish.”
In the East, Ohio was picked to win the division and the MAC Tournament.
The Chippewas will open the regular season Nov. 12 at Iowa and will begin MAC play Jan. 9 against Bowling Green.