Central College vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, 2.23.17

Nebraska Wesleyan forward Deion Wells-Ross (4) puts up a layup against Central College forward Malik Wildermuth (30) during the first half of an IIAC Tournament semifinal game on Thursday at Snyder Arena.

JOURNAL STAR FILE PHOTO

Everyone in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will be taking aim at Nebraska Wesleyan this year.

The Prairie Wolves were picked by league basketball coaches to win the IIAC in a preseason coaches' poll released Thursday.

NWU shared the 2016-17 regular-season title with Loras in its first season in the league. Loras was picked to finish second and Wartburg third.

The Prairie Wolves return four starters, including 2016-17 IIAC MVP Cooper Cook, Nate Schimonitz and Deion Wells-Ross.

"This season in the IIAC should be like last, in that anyone can win on any given night," NWU coach Dale Wellman said. "You can’t take a day off in the IIAC. There is just tremendous parity, which will make for another exciting season. Here at NWU we have some experience returning, but if we don’t improve on the defensive end of the court, it will be tough in this league.”

Nebraska Wesleyan opens its season Nov. 17.

Concordia women favored in GPAC: The Concordia women are in a familiar spot this time of year — at the top of a Great Plains Athletic Conference preseason basketball poll.

The Bulldogs, 34-3 last year, were picked by conference coaches as the favorite. They received 10 of 11 first-place votes a season after winning the regular-season and tournament championships.

Concordia returns four starters — Dani (Andersen) Hoppes, Mary Janovich, Philly Lammers and Quinn Wragge.

Dakota Wesleyan was picked to finish second and Morningside third. Hastings was picked fifth and Doane eighth.

Concordia's season begins Nov. 3 in the Cattle Classic.

Northwestern men picked to win GPAC: Northwestern, which qualified for the NAIA Division II Tournament a season ago, was tabbed by league coaches to win the GPAC.

Northwestern received 78 points. Dakota Wesleyan (73 points) was picked second and Briar Cliff third.

Midland was picked fifth, Concordia eighth and Doane ninth.

Quick hits: Nebraska-Kearney was picked to finish 10th in the MIAA women's preseason poll.

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