Broncos Picked 3rd in MAC West; Hutcheson Honored
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced the results of its 2012-13 Men's Basketball preseason media poll, and the Western Michigan Broncos were picked to finish third in the MAC West division by the 24-member MAC News Media Panel. In addition, the Broncos' Nate Hutcheson was named a Preseason All-MAC selection.
Hutcheson set career-highs in minutes, scoring average, assists, steals, and free throw percentage in 2011-12, as the senior now finds himself cast into the roles of mentor and leader for a Bronco team that will feature eight freshmen. Hutcheson averaged 9.4 points per game last season, shooting 40.3 percent from the floor and showing the ability to knock down the long range shot as well as go to the hoop. Hutcheson also rated as the Broncos' best free throw shooter in 2011-12; he set a career-high with an 82.0 percent mark from the charity stripe, a number that ranked in the top-10 in the conference.
A lockdown defender as well, Hutcheson averaged 4.1 rebounds per game and set a career high with 16 steals last season. Hutcheson saw his minutes increase to an average of 27.0 per game in 2011-12, and will likely be leaned on again this year. The lone returning player to have started more than half of last year's games, Hutcheson provides dynamic physical ability to the Broncos' front court, as well as lockdown defensive ability due to his length.
The Broncos return nine letterwinners from 2011-12, including seniors Hutcheson, Brandon Pokley, and Dan Loney, but Hutcheson ranks as the only starter. The team features eight newcomers, the most freshmen on Broncos squad since the 2008-09 season. Winners of five MAC West titles since Steve Hawkins became the Broncos' head coach before the 2003-04 season, the Broncos were slotted to finish behind Toledo and reigning MAC West Champion Eastern Michigan. 2012 MAC Tournament champion Ohio was picked to win the league by the tournament panel.
2012-13 East Division Predicted Order of Finish1. Ohio - 141 Votes (19 first place votes)
2. Akron - 122 Votes (5)
3. Kent State - 89 Votes
4. Buffalo - 68 Votes
5. Bowling Green - 53 Votes
6. Miami - 31 Votes
2012-13 East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Zeke Marshall, Akron
A'uston Calhoun, Bowling Green
Javon McCrea, Buffalo
Walter Offutt, Ohio
D.J. Cooper, Ohio
2012-13 West Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Toledo - 143 Votes (20 first place votes)
2. Eastern Michigan - 118 Votes (4)
3. Western Michigan - 88 Votes
4. Ball State - 74 Votes
5. Northern Illinois - 46 Votes
6. Central Michigan - 35 Votes
2012-13 West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Jesse Berry, Ball State
Abdel Nader, Northern Illinois
Rian Pearson, Toledo
Julius Brown, Toledo
Nate Hutcheson, Western Michigan
FirstEnergy MAC Men's Basketball Tournament Winner: Ohio (18), Akron (6)