Chicago Power Rankings 2017-18 Preseason (11-7-17)
1 Northwestern – The wildcats finally did it! They removed themselves from the never made it to the big dance club after reaching not only the NCAA tournament, but the round of 32 last season. They bring back two 2017-18 preseason all Big Ten team selections in Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh. The Wildcats start the year ranked number 19 in the AP poll. The excitement around this program is at an all-time high as this is the first year in program history they begin the season ranked. Anything short of at the minimum getting back to where they were last year would be a disappointment for this team.
2 Loyola Chicago – The ramblers are another team that has a buzz surrounding them entering this season. They do lose one of the best players in their recent history in wing Milton Doyal to the pros, however Andre Jackson and Clayton Custer should help shoulder the loss for Loyola. This is a team that with the departure of Wichita State from the Missouri Valley finds themselves solidly in the number two spot in the league, and in the position to challenge Missouri State for the MVC crown.
3 UIC – Steve Mclain has built a contender. Having won two games in the CBI last year including one over a 20 win George Washington team from the A-10 the flames are ready to compete in the upper tier of the horizon league. It will be difficult for UIC to win the league given how dominate Oakland is supposed to be this year, but they very well could finish second, and make a return trip to the postseason. The players to watch this year will be Tai Odiase and Dikembe Dixson.
4 DePaul – This will most likely be another rough year for the Blue Demons. They have a decent chance to finish above Georgetown, but they will still probably end up 8th or 9th. The positives are they return Eli Cain who put up 15.6 points per game last year, and they are opening up the brand new Wintrust Arena downtown this season.
5 Chicago State – It will be a difficult year for the Cougars on the south side. There is no way to sugarcoat it. They are staring at an improved WAC after losing their second best player Trevon Palmer, and have a 1-27 record in conference the past two seasons. If there is a bright spot for Chicago State it is they have one of the best players in the league in Fred Sims Jr. who averaged 19 points a game last year, and is returning after testing NBA waters. His numbers should increase with the absence of Palmer, but he cannot singlehandedly carry the team.
Photo from thecachandshoot.com
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