Flames tabbed ninth in preseason poll
OPTIMISM HIGH DESPITE EXPERTS’ EXPECTATIONS
November 9, 2009
Senior forward Jeremy Buttell and junior guard Robo Kreps are the key veterans ushering in a season that begins with 11 newcomers on the roster.
Tuesday’s contest against Lewis will provide UIC a chance to see where it is as the regular season approaches later this week. Newcomers such as junior center K.C. Robbins, junior forward Brad Birton and freshman guard Anthony Kelley will have ample opportunity to see playing time. Questions about the point guard position should also begin to find answers as coach Jimmy Collins will explore his options.
The contest will tip off between 7:30 and 8 p.m., about 20-30 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s basketball exhibition against St. Xavier.
Lewis, a Division II school in Romeoville, has played Notre Dame and Bradley tough in other exhibition games. UIC beat the Flyers 80-57 in a regular-season game last season en route to a 7-2 start.
As for the low expectations placed on the Flames from the college basketball world, Buttell responded recently.
“That’s fine with me, because preseason rankings don’t matter at the end of the season,” Buttell said. “Last year we were up near the top. This year we’re near the bottom. I hope some teams take that into account when they play us and they don’t expect a lot out of us, because we’re going to end up beating their butts.”
In the poll, Butler was a near unanimous choice to win the Horizon League, garnering 43 of the 46 first-place votes. Wright State was placed second followed by last season’s Horizon League tournament champion Cleveland State.
For the first time since the 2005 poll, no Flames player was picked for either the first-team or second-team All-Horizon. Last season, Josh Mayo was the Horizon League preseason player of the year.
A complete rundown of the league poll with Whoosh!’s votes are below:
Whoosh!’s others considered: Thomas Kennedy, Detroit; Troy Cotton, Green Bay, Tone Boyle, Milwaukee, James Eayrs, Milwaukee.