BAY CITY - The bar is set high for the Michigan Tech men's basketball team.
Husky senior forward Ali Haidar was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year and the Huskies were picked in a narrow decision to win the North Division in Media Day voting released Wednesday on the league website.
Haidar was the GLIAC Player of the Year in 2011-12 and was named to the Division II Bulletin Preseason Super 16 Team, one of two players from the Midwest Region to be recognized. His totals of 19.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game were both within the top 50 nationally.
Junior guard Alex Culy also received preseason recognition, making the North Division second team.
The Huskies finished in a three-way tie atop the GLIAC North last season, and the transfer of a Wayne State team with a better 2011-12 conference record than all three of them from the South to North Division ensured a muddled preseason prediction. The Huskies and Warriors meet for the first time this season in Houghton Jan. 17.
Michigan Tech finished just two poll points ahead of Wayne, 157-155, and received eight first-place votes to Wayne's nine. Ferris State (four) and Northwood (two) also received first-place votes and were ranked third and fourth, respectively. The rest of the GLIAC North was rounded out by Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, Saginaw Valley State and Northern Michigan.
|GLIAC Basketball Polls|
|1||Mich. Tech (8)||157||16-12|
|2||Wayne St. (9)||155||18-9|
|3||Ferris St. (4)||141||16-11|
|1||Ferris St. (15)||174||23-7|
|2||Mich. Tech (8)||164||20-7|
Findlay received 17 of 23 first-place votes and tops the South Division poll, followed by Hillsdale, Ashland, Tiffin, Walsh, Lake Erie, Malone and Ohio Dominican.
On the women's side, voters sided with both 2011-12 division champs.
Ferris State, under new coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate, received 15 of 23 first-place votes in the North.
Kim Cameron's Michigan Tech squad was a close second with eight first-place votes and 10 fewer poll points.
Two Huskies received Preseason All-GLIAC honors: senior guard Sam Hoyt was named to the North Division First Team, while junior forward Taylor Stippel was selected for the Second Team.
Grand Valley and Northern were expected to fill out the top half of the North, followed by Wayne, Northwood, LSSU and Saginaw.
Ashland, which returns several key pieces from a team that lost the national championship game in overtime last season, was the unanimous pick atop the South Division, with senior forward Kari Daugherty earning preseason Player of the Year honors. Daugherty, who averaged 21.3 points and 14.1 rebounds, was also named national preseason player of the year by D-II Bulletin.
The Huskies host the Eagles for their only meeting Jan. 5.
After the Eagles come Tiffin, Findlay and Hillsdale, followed by the league's four newest members: Lake Erie, Walsh, Malone and Ohio Dominican.
Both Michigan Tech basketball teams open conference play Nov. 29 at GLIAC newcomer Malone.