Howard Thompson, Assistant Athletic Director for Communication
The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference has released its preseason coaches’ polls for both women’s and men’s basketball. Upper Iowa’s men’s team was picked to finish 9th in the overall standings and 6th in the NSIC South Division, while the women’s team was selected 16th overall and 8th in the NSIC South.
On the men’s side, both St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato were selected at the top of the coaches’ poll after receiving 209 points in the poll. The University of Sioux Falls was the top pick on the women’s side garnering nine first place votes.
The Peacock men’s basketball team is ready to get back on the court for the 2018-19 campaign. Led by the NSIC Freshman of the Year Joe Smoldt, as well as returners Munachiso Okonkwo, Jarese Williams and Quentin Blaue. Several new Peacocks, including redshirts from last season, will prove pivotal to Upper Iowa’s success this season. Upper Iowa will have large shoes to fill without two-time All-NSIC performer Carson Parker, as well as graduates Mitch Eighme, Kam Rowan and Dennis Austin III. Upper Iowa will open their season with an exhibition game at the University of Northern Iowa on Nov. 1 and season openers against Northwest Missouri State University and Missouri Western State University on Nov. 9-10. UIU’s home opener is on Nov. 16 versus Quincy University.
NSIC Player to Watch – 20 Joe Smoldt (G, 6’0, 175, So., Reinbeck, Iowa, Gladbrook-Reinbeck)
The Upper Iowa women’s team is anxious to get on the court and put 2017-18 out of memory. Head Coach Micha Thompson is joined by new Associate Coach Kelly Kielsmeier and Graduate Assistant Angelica De Paulo as the coaching staff takes on a new look. Thompson is entering her third season at UIU, while Kielsmeier is making the transition to Upper Iowa after 10 years as the assistant at Wayne State College. Upper Iowa’s young roster from a year ago gained valuable experience and tons of time on the floor, which should translate into success this season. The Peacocks return seniors Blair Klostermann and Haley Martin, as well as junior Bekka Pierson and sophomores Natalie Dinius, Emma Gaber and Savannah Domeyer. Upper Iowa will play an exhibition game at the University of Northern Iowa on Sunday, Nov. 4 and open the season on the road against Missouri Western State University and Fort Hays State University on Nov. 9-10. UIU’s first home game is against Emmaus Bible College on Nov. 17.
NSIC Player to Watch – 13 Blair Klostermann (G, 5’11, Sr., Dyersville, Iowa, Beckman Catholic)
The regular season champion for both men’s and women’s basketball will be based on the 22-game NSIC schedule. Each team will play teams in their division twice (14) and teams in the other division once (8). An NSIC North and South Division Champion will also be awarded. Divisional standings will also be based on all 22 NSIC contests played. In the case of a tie, co-champions will be awarded. The 16-team NSIC / Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championships are set to take place March 2, 4-5 at the Sanford Health Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. First round games will be played on the campus of the top eight seeds on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
The 2018-19 basketball season gets underway early in November with conference action beginning on Saturday, Dec. 1.