FREELAND, Mich. – In a preseason poll of eight Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association men's basketball coaches, the 2018-19 season is predicted to bring a close conference race as Trine, Hope, and Olivet all received at least one first-place vote with Trine edging the group with 44 total points and three first-place votes. Hope was close behind with 43 points, including three first-place votes, while 2018 MIAA Co-Champion Olivet garnered two first-place votes on the way to 41 points.
Calvin was predicted to finish fourth overall with 40 points, followed by Alma (21 points). Both Albion and Adrian reaped 18 points to tie for sixth place, with Kalamazoo (9 points) rounding out the preseason poll.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Trine (12-14 in 2017-18, 8-6 in MIAA) returns 2018 MIAA First-Team selection Myles Copeland (Sr., F, Perrysburg, Ohio) as well as last year's MIAA Defensive Player of the Year Maurice Hunter (Jr., F, Monroe, Mich.) and fellow second-team All-MIAA pick Pete Smith (Sr., G, Bristol, Ind.).
Hope (19-10, 10-4), the 2018 MIAA Co-Champions with Olivet and NCAA Tournament participant, will lean on First-Team All-MIAA honoree Jason Beckman (Sr., G, Shelby, Mich.), who averaged 22.2 points per game last season.
Olivet (16-11, 10-4) returns First-Team All-MIAA selection Tracy Edmond (Sr., G, East Lansing, Mich.) from a team that secured their first MIAA title since 1973 last year.
Calvin (10-15, 6-8) features returning starter Derrick DeVries (Jr., W, Grand Rapids, Mich.) this year; in 2017-18, DeVries garnered Second-Team All-MIAA accolades.
The 2018-19 men's basketball season gets underway this week, with Calvin hosting Grace Christian (Mich.) Thursday, Nov. 8. The first MIAA contest of the season is set for Jan. 2, when Kalamazoo takes on Alma to tip-off the double-round robin schedule.
The 2019 MIAA Men's Basketball Tournament is scheduled for Friday-Saturday, Feb. 22-23, at the highest seed of the four-team field; the winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.