KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fort Hays State Men's Basketball was tabbed sixth in both the MIAA Coaches and Media Preseason Polls, released on Tuesday (Oct. 12) at MIAA Basketball Media Day inside The College Basketball Experience. Both polls show optimism in the Tigers moving up this season in the standings after tying for seventh in 2020-21.
The same five teams sit in front of the Tigers in both polls, just in a little bit different order in the No. 3 through No. 5 spots. Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State was a unanimous choice for the conference regular season title and Washburn was a strong choice for the No. 2 spot in both polls. In the Coaches Poll, Central Oklahoma is third, Missouri Southern is fourth, and Missouri Western is fifth, while in the Media Poll, Missouri Western is third, Missouri Southern is fourth, and Central Oklahoma is fifth.
Fort Hays State received 112 voting points in the Coaches Poll, only three points behind Missouri Western. There is a significant drop in voting points behind the Tigers in that poll as Rogers State is seventh with 88 points. In the Media Poll, the Tigers edged Emporia State for the No. 6 spot by just one voting point.
The Tigers are coming off an 11-11 record in 2020-21, which saw teams play a conference only schedule during the regular season. Jared Vitztum returns for a second senior season with the extra year of eligibility granted to winter sport student-athletes by the NCAA during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was an All-MIAA First Team and NABC All-District Second Team selection last year, averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The young backcourt of Kaleb Hammeke and Quinten Rock are back after both averaged better than 10 points per game as freshmen. Hammeke was named MIAA Freshman of the Year in 2020-21. The Tigers return 11 players from last year's team, including one redshirt, and add three newcomers to the squad this year.
Below are the MIAA Preseason Polls for the 2021-22 season.
2021-22 MIAA Preseason Men's Basketball Coaches Poll
1. Northwest Missouri (13) - 169 points
2. Washburn (1) – 157 points
3. Central Oklahoma – 141 points
4. Missouri Southern – 125 points
5. Missouri Western – 115 points
6. Fort Hays State – 112 points
7. Rogers State – 88 points
8. Pittsburg State – 86 points
9. Emporia State – 78 points
10. Lincoln – 60 points
11. Central Missouri – 59 points
12. Nebraska Kearney – 39 points
13. Northeastern State – 31 points
14. Newman – 14 points
Coaches Are Not Allowed To Vote For Their Own Team
2021-2022 MIAA Men's Basketball Media Poll
1. Northwest Missouri (9) – 126 points
2. Washburn – 116 points
3. Missouri Western – 99 points
4. Missouri Southern – 90 points
5. Central Oklahoma – 86 points
6. Fort Hays State – 74 points
7. Emporia State – 73 points
8. Rogers State – 63 points
9. Pittsburg State – 61 points
10. Lincoln – 60 points
11. Central Missouri – 38 points
12. Nebraska Kearney – 28 points
13. Northeastern State – 16 points
14. Newman – 15 points
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