Eagles picked 7th in OVC preseason poll Simmons selected for the preseason All-OVC squad


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball team is predicted to place seventh in the Ohio Valley Conference, as voted by the league’s 10 head coaches and athletic communications directors in a poll released today. The Screaming Eagles also have been picked fifth by Blue Ribbon Magazine and eighth by Lindy Basketball Magazine.
The Eagles, who received 78 points in the preseason poll, enter their first season of NCAA Division I play looking to build off last season’s 18-8 record during the final season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Morehead State University is predicted to win the conference, earning 138 points and seven first place votes. Tennessee State University followed with 130 points and two first place votes, while the University of Tennessee Martin rounded out the top three with 120 points and seven first place votes.
USI senior guard Jelani Simmons (Columbus, Ohio) was the Eagles’ lone representative on the Preseason All-OVC team. Simmons averaged 14.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Jacob Polakovich, who will join the team in December after recovering from an ankle injury, averaged 11.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in 2021-22. Polakovich, who had 11 double-doubles last year, leading the GLVC and ranked fourth nationally in rebounding. 
The Eagles also are tipping off 2022-23 campaign under leadership of Head Coach Stan Gouard. Gouard has compiled a 234-124 record as a head coach (30-13 at USI; 204-112 at UIndy). The 2020 NCAA II Midwest Region Coach of the Year also produced a 162-89 record in GLVC action (23-10 at USI; 139-79 at UIndy).
USI Men’s Basketball opens the 2022-23 campaign with an exhibition game November 2 versus Midway University and opens the regular season November 7 at the University of Missouri. The regular season home opener is November 13 when Southern Illinois University visits Screaming Eagles Arena.
The complete 2022 OVC Preseason Poll (first-place votes):
  1. Morehead State (7 first-place votes) 138
  2. Tennessee State (2) 130
  3. UT Martin (7) 120
  4. Southeast Missouri (2) 115
  5. SIUE (2) 111
  6. Little Rock 102
  7. Southern Indiana 68
  8. Tennessee Tech 62
  9. Eastern Illinois 31
10. Lindenwood 23