* SMSU women's basketball team picked 14th in NSIC preseason poll *
The Southwest Minnesota State women's basketball team was picked to finish 14th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Coaches' Poll, which is voted on by the league's 16 head coaches.
Preseason favorite Augustana earned 15 first-place votes (coaches can't vote for their own team) and 225 points. Minnesota-Duluth finished second with 190 points, and defending NSIC regular season champion Wayne State was picked third with 185 points. Minnesota State-Mankato was selected to finish fourth, and the University of Mary earned one first-place vote and finished fifth in the poll with 171 points.
Rounding out the top 10 were Winona State (160), Concordia-St. Paul (145), St. Cloud State (118), the University of Sioux Falls (110) and Northern State (107). The bottom six teams were Minnesota State-Moorhead (104), Minnesota-Crookston (70), Bemidji State (56), SMSU (47), Minot State (37) and Upper Iowa (20).
With the addition of Sioux Falls and Minot State this season, the NSIC will be split into a North and South division. Each team will play teams in their division twice and teams in the other division once.
Augustana senior forward Alex Feeney was chosen as the NSIC South Preseason Player of the Year, and Katrina Newman, a junior guard for Minnesota-Duluth, was picked as the NSIC North Preseason Player of the Year.
SMSU junior guard Bree Holleman was picked as one of the NSIC's "Players to Watch." Holleman played in all 26 games for the Mustangs last year and finished second on the team averaging 10.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. She also hit a team-high 47 3-pointers.
SMSU finished last season with a 6-20 overall record and a 5-17 mark in NSIC action. The Mustangs will begin the 2012-13 season Oct. 31 against Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
* Mustang men's hoops picked 14th in Basketball Times D-II poll *
The Southwest Minnesota State men's basketball team was ranked 14th in the Basketball Times NCAA Division II Preseason poll released this week.
The Mustangs were one of two Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference programs to be listed in the poll, as St. Cloud State was ranked 19th.
West Liberty (W. Va.) is the preseason No. 1.
Fourth-year SMSU head coach Brad Bigler has eight returning letterwinners and five returning starters on this year's roster. The Mustangs return their top six scorers and top four rebounders.
SMSU went 19-11 overall in 2011-12 and finished tied for second in the NSIC with a 15-7 record. The Mustangs won the program's first NSIC Tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history.
* Popowski inducted into Minnesota, Morris Cougar Hall of Fame *
Patrick Popowski, a 1970 graduate of Balaton High School, was inducted into the Minnesota, Morris Cougar Hall of Fame on Sept. 21 in Morris.
Popowski played in four different sports and lettered 10 times. He was the captain of both the football and track and field teams as a Cougar.
Popowski still holds the record for most receptions in a single game with 26. He was named the team MVP and earned all-conference honors in 1973.
In 1974, Popowski signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. He also signed a contract with the New England Patriots in 1975.
Popowski and his wife, Nancy Jo, reside in Watertown, S.D.