The Golden Eagles are coming off their best season in the NCAA Division II era with 10 overall wins and seven conference wins.

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team was picked to finish 11th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Men’s Basketball Poll released Thurs., Oct. 18. The 11th place ranking is the highest the Golden Eagles have received in recent seasons. They are up three spots from last season where they were selected to finish in a tie for 14th in the conference standings. The Golden Eagles were slotted fourth in the NSIC North rankings, which is also the highest they have received.

    The Golden Eagles are coming off their best season in the NCAA Division II era with 10 overall wins and seven conference wins. Minnesota Crookston is entering their fifth season in 2018-19 under Head Coach Dan Weisse. The Golden Eagles have a lot to build on as they return D2CAA All-America Honorable Mention pick Harrison Cleary, the conference’s leading scorer in 2017-18. Cleary was also an All-NSIC First Team selection. Cleary was picked as Minnesota Crookston’s Player to Watch in the NSIC. He averaged 24.2 points per game as a junior for the Golden Eagles.

    In addition, the Golden Eagles bring back NSIC Defensive Player of the Year Gable Smith, who finished the season with an NSIC-best 3.8 blocked shots per game. Minnesota Crookston also returns their most experienced roster in recent history. The Golden Eagles bring back Ben Juhl, Chase Knickerbocker, Chase Johnson, Darin Viken, Javier Nicolau, Aaron Hollcraft, and Josh Collins, all of whom have played key roles for the Golden Eagles. Minnesota Crookston also brought in three newcomers to the squad who will look to battle for time, while redshirts Malcolm Cohen, Joey Meyer, and Brian Sitzmann will look for playing time, as well. The newcomers for Minnesota Crookston are Demarion Bariffe-Smith, Zach Westphal, and Sergio Nanu.

    The Golden Eagles open up exhibition play Nov. 3 against University of Northwestern (Minn.). The regular-season will commence Nov. 10 in St. Paul, Minn., with a neutral site game against Arkansas Tech University.

    St. Cloud State and Minnesota State were selected by the league coaches as the preseason favorites in the NSIC for the 2018-19 season.  Both MSU and SCSU received 209 points with the Mavericks garnering eight first places votes and the Huskies five.  Sioux Falls was third in the overall poll with 191 points and three first place votes.  

    In the divisional rankings, St. Cloud State was the unanimous choice in the north, picking up all seven first place votes. National Finalists from a year ago, Northern State was second in the north with 42 points and a first place nod.  

    In the south, Minnesota State and Sioux Falls shared the top spot as both had 43 points and four first place votes.

Overall                                             Points

1. Minnesota State (8)....................... 209   

    St. Cloud State (5)......................... 209   

3. Sioux Falls (3)............................... 191   

4. Winona State................................. 183   

5. Northern State................................ 177   

6. Southwest Minnesota State........... 159   

7. Augustana...................................... 127   

8. MSU Moorhead............................. 120   

9. Upper Iowa.................................... 106   

10. Minnesota Duluth........................ 103   

11. Minnesota Crookston................... 94    

12. Wayne State.................................. 73    

13. Minot State................................... 58    

14. Bemidji State ............................... 50    

15. Concordia-St. Paul....................... 44    

16. University of Mary...................... 17

                                              first place votes in ( )