The Crusaders were picked to finish second in the Mid-Continent Conference by a poll of conference coaches, Sports Information Directors and selected members of the media. Seniors Ron Howard (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young/Marquette) and Dan Oppland (Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) were tabbed to the All-Conference First Team.
Oral Roberts, the defending regular season champions, were picked to repeat, earning 24 of 28 first place votes for a total of 358 points. Valpo was next with 314 points and two first place votes. IUPUI, Western Illinois, and UMKC rounded out the top five.
Oppland and Howard both earned All-Conference honors last season, pacing the Brown and Gold to a 10-6 Mid-Con record before an upset loss in the first round of the conference tournament. Two more Valpo seniors, Ali Berdiel (Ponce, P.R./Andrean (Ind.) H.S.) and Mohamed Kone (Lyon, France/Jean Paul Saltre/College of Southern Idaho) were named to the All-Conference Second Team, giving Valpo a league-best four players so honored.
Caleb Green, the defending Player of the Year, was picked to repeat and joins teammate Ken Tutt, UMKC's Quinton Day and IUPUI senior Brandon Cole on the All-Conference First Team. Western Illinois' David Jackson, Oral Roberts' Larry Owens and IUPUI's George Hill join Berdiel and Kone on the Second Team.
The Crusaders, led by six seniors, are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament after missing the post-season for only the second time in 10 years. Boosted by the return of Berdiel, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, and the addition of Kone, one of the top rated junior college centers in America, the Brown and Gold will open their quest with an exhibition game Saturday, November 5 at 7:05 p.m. against Capital.
2005-06 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Men's Basketball Poll
1. Oral Roberts 358 (24)
2. Valparaiso 314 (2)
3. IUPUI 274
4. Western Illinois 227
5. UMKC 208 (1)
6. Oakland 159 (1)
7. Southern Utah 131
8. Chicago State 100
9. Centenary 56
Mid-Continent Conf. First Team
Brandon Cole, Sr., F, IUPUI
Quinton Day, Jr., G, UMKC
Caleb Green, Jr., F, Oral Roberts
Ron Howard, Sr., G, Valparaiso
Dan Oppland, Sr., F, Valparaiso
Ken Tutt, Jr., G, Oral Roberts
Mid-Continent Conf. Second Team
Ali Berdiel, Sr., G, Valparaiso
George Hill, So., G, IUPUI
David Jackson, So., G, Western Illinois
Mohamed Kone, Sr., C, Valparaiso
Larry Owens, Sr., G/F, Oral Roberts