Blues enter 2017-18 as heavy favorites to clinch NWC crown

Blues enter 2017-18 as heavy favorites to clinch NWC crown

Rk.

Team (1st)

Pts.

’16-17 Rec. (NWC)

1.

Whitman (8)

72

31-1 (16-0)

2.

Whitworth (1)

58

23-5 (13-3)

3.

Linfield

48

15-11 (9-7)

4.

George Fox

38

10-16 (8-8)

5.

Lewis & Clark

37

9-16 (6-10)

6.

Puget Sound

28

12-13 (5-11)

7.

Pacific (Ore.)

25

12-12 (6-10)

8.

Willamette

16

4-21 (2-14)

9.

Pacific Lutheran

11

12-13 (7-9)

(Points awarded on an 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.)

HILLSBORO, Ore. — The preseason No. 1 in the Northwest Conference, matches the preseason No. 1 in the nation as the Whitman Blues were picked to win the Northwest Conference, according to a poll of the nine NWC head coaches.

The Blues advanced to the Final Four last season and enter 2017-18 with 72 points and eight first place votes in the NWC preseason coaches’ poll. Whitman returns two First-Team All-NWC honorees from last season in Tim Howell (Sr., Calabasas, Calif.) and Jase Harrison (Sr., Lancaster, Calif.). Howell is a preseason First Team All-American according to D3hoops.com.

Whitworth received the final first place vote and collected 58 points to enter the year picked to finish second in the conference. Kyle Roach (Jr., Marinwood, Calif.) returns after being named Second Team All-NWC last season. Roach averaged 15.9 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game last year, while dishing out 2.1 assists per game.

Linfield was picked to finish third with 48 points in the preseason poll. The Wildcats return Riley Bruil (Jr., Lake Tapps, Wash.), an honorable mention all-conference selection last season, who averaged 9.8 points per game last season and shot 48.3-percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

George Fox was picked to follow last season’s fourth place finish with another fourth-place finish in 2017-18, receiving 38 points in the coaches’ poll. Thomas Rico (Sr., Glendora, Calif.) returns to the Bruins’ lineup after earning All-NWC Honorable Mention last season. Rico averaged 12.4 points per game last season.

Lewis & Clark received 37 points and was predicted to finish fifth. The Pioneers return the reining NWC Freshman of the Year in Andrew Vickers (So., Vancouver, Wash.), who averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game a season ago.

Receiving 28 points and picked to finish sixth was Puget Sound. The Loggers will look to Jimmy Wohrer (Jr., Redwood City, Calif.) to lead the way in 2017-18 after Wohrer averaged 12.9 points per game last season.

The Pacific (Ore.) Boxers were picked seventh with 25 points. Pacific’s top returning scorer from 2016-17 is Nate Olowo (Sr., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), who averaged 11.5 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game during his junior campaign.

Willamette earned 16 points and was predicted to finish eight in 2017-18. The Bearcats will look to Jordan Jenkins (Jr., Placentia, Calif.) to lead the way after he averaged 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last season.

Pacific Lutheran was picked ninth after earning 11 points in the preseason poll. Dylan Foreman is the top returning scorer for the Lutes, having tallied 11.8 points per game last season, while adding 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

The 2017-18 men’s basketball season gets underway on November 15 as four NWC sides tipoff in non-conference action. Lewis & Clark opens at home against Warner Pacific, while Puget Sound hosts Evergreen State, Pacific Lutheran welcomes Northwest Indian and Whitworth gets a visit from La Verne.

George Fox opens the season on November 17 against Rutgers-Newark. The 17th will also feature the season opener for Whitman at home against Waynesburg and a pair of neutral site debuts with Pacific meeting Redlands in Tacoma, Wash. and Linfield playing Whittier in Santa Cruz, Calif. Willamette will open the 2017-18 season on November 18 at Northwest Christian.

The conference slate is scheduled to get underway on December 1.