The Portland State Vikings have been picked to place eighth in the Big Sky Conference this season according to the Preseason Coaches Poll released today by the league. The Vikings were picked ninth in the 12-team conference in the Media Poll.
Weber State, the 2016-17 Big Sky Champion, was picked first in both polls. The Wildcats were followed by Idaho, North Dakota and Montana in the Coaches Poll; Montana, Idaho and North Dakota in the Media Poll.
The Vikings will try to exceed those preseason predictions when they open their 2016-17 campaign next month. PSU comes off a 13-18 season last year. The Viks were 8-10 in conference games, placing eighth. They won an opening-round Big Sky Tournament game over Northern Colorado before losing to eventual champion Weber State in the quarterfinals.
Head Coach Tyler Geving begins his eighth season on the Park Blocks. He has two returning starters from last year’s team, as well as a starter from 2015-16, who sat out last year due to injury. Overall, eight letterwinners return and are bolstered by seven newcomers.
A deep group will be led by four veteran players – a pair in the backcourt, Calaen Robinson and Zach Gengler, and a pair in the front court – Braxton Tucker and De’Sean Parsons. Junior transfer Bryce Canda is expected to play a key role as well as the Vikings have increased their size and depth, and look for improved shooting to make a big difference in the coming season.
PSU opens with an exhibition game on Nov. 4 against Linfield. The season-opener is Nov. 11 at Arizona State, and the official home-opener is Nov. 17 against George Fox.
Big Sky Conference play begins on Dec. 29 with North Dakota at the Stott Center. The Vikings will play five of their first seven league games at home and hope to get off to a strong start, leading them to a successful season and top seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, Mar. 7-11, in Reno, NV.
OPEN SCRIMMAGE: Portland State will have an intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 22 that is open to the public at the Stott Center. The scrimmage begins at 10 a.m.
PRESEASON KUDOS: Media outlet College Sports Madness has made JR F Braxton Tucker a Preseason 3rd Team All-Big Sky Conference selection. CSM has also picked FR F Brendan Rumel as the Big Sky’s Preseason Freshman of the Year.
NEW VIKING PAVILION COMING SOON: The Peter W. Stott Center will remain the home court for the Vikings in 2016-17 while major construction is underway on the eastern portion of the building. That development will become the new Viking Pavilion, a venue that will seat 3000+ for basketball. A completion date is scheduled for winter 2018. PSU will find an alternate home court for 2017-18 until the new Pavilion is opened.
2016-17 Big Sky Conference Coaches Poll
1. Weber State, 114 (7)
2. Idaho, 104 (1)
3. North Dakota, 103 (3)
4. Montana, 96
5. Idaho State, 79
6. Montana State, 73
7. Eastern Washington, 56
8. Portland State, 49
9. Sacramento State, 44
10. Northern Arizona, 36
11. Northern Colorado, 25
12. Southern Utah, 13
2016-17 Big Sky Conference Media Poll
1. Weber State, 181 (10)
2. Montana, 167 (3)
3. Idaho, 158 (2)
4. North Dakota, 137 (1)
t5. Eastern Washington, 121
t5. Idaho State, 121
7. Montana State, 92
8. Sacramento State, 78
9. Portland State, 69
10. Northern Colorado, 54
11. Northern Arizona, 40
12. Southern Utah, 30
First place votes in parenthesis
— Portland State MBB (@ViksMBB) September 28, 2016
Vikings open up the season on the road at Arizona State Nov. 11th!!! https://t.co/ppI6XuaWH0
— Portland State MBB (@ViksMBB) September 9, 2016