Defending champion Wichita State has been picked fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll of league coaches, sports information directors and media, the league announced today.
In addition, WSU's Carl Hall was picked as a member of the preseason honorable mention team.
Creighton has been tabbed as the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball title in 2012-13. The Bluejays, slated as high as No. 10 nationally in pre-season polls, received 398 of a possible 400 points (38 of 40 first-place votes).
Illinois State received the remaining two first-place tallies and finished second in the poll, receiving 327 total points to edge UNI (316). WSU was fourth with 298 total points, while Evansville -- one of five teams that tied for third place in the 2011-12 conference race -- rounds out the upper division with 240 points and a fifth-place slot in the poll.
Drake is picked sixth with 184 points, and the Bulldogs are followed by Indiana State (165), Missouri State (122), Bradley (84) and Southern Illinois (66).
Pollsters have accurately predicted the league's regular-season champ only 12 times out of 28 since 1985-86, but the pre-season favorite Bluejays can take solace in that 25 of those 28 predicted champs have gone on to post-season play, with 17 of those 25 playing in the NCAAs.
The Bluejays, meanwhile, have been picked to win the MVC eight previous times since 1989-90, and in those years, they won the league three times and finished second five times.