NAPERVILLE — The Millikin men's basketball team was picked last and the women seventh in the preseason coaches' poll announced Wednesday.
The Augustana men and the Illinois Wesleyan women were selected to win the conference.
In the men's poll, Augustana (24-9, 11-5) won with 63 points and seven first place votes, one year after the Grey Giovanine-led program advanced to the NCAA Division III national title game for the second time in three seasons. Augustana was one of three teams to share the CCIW title last year, the program’s 16th in conference history and eighth under Giovanine.
North Central (18-11, 9-7) finished second in the poll with 56 points and one first place vote after becoming the first No. 4 seed to win the CCIW Tournament title last season. With the tournament title, North Central earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship and advanced to the regional final.
Carthage (18-8, 11-5) was third with 47 points and one first place vote. The Red Men earned a share of the conference regular season title last season, their sixth in program history and fifth under head coach Bosko Djurickovic. It was also Carthage’s first CCIW title since 2010.
Illinois Wesleyan (17-8, 9-7) placed fourth with 42 points as the Titans finished tied for fourth with North Central last season, but missed out on a CCIW Tournament berth via a tiebreaker.
Wheaton (12-13, 8-8) was fifth with 38 points, while North Park (18-8, 11-5) finished sixth with 24 points. The Vikings’ share of the 2017 CCIW title was their first since 1987, seventh title overall and first under head coach Tom Slyder.
Carroll (13-12, 8-8), Elmhurst (8-17, 4-12) and Millikin (3-22, 1-15) rounded out the poll with 23, 22 and nine points respectively.
In the women's poll, Wesleyan (18-10, 12-4) was firstl with 61 points and five first place votes after the Titans placed second in the CCIW last season and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship.
Wheaton (24-5, 14-2) was second in the poll with 60 points and four first place votes after the Thunder won their ninth CCIW title and third straight under head coach Kent Madsen last season. Wheaton earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA postseason and advanced to the regional final.
Carthage (14-11, 8-8) was third with 45 points, while Elmhurst (19-7, 11-5) was fourth with 44 points. The Bluejays qualified for the CCIW Tournament for the fourth-straight year last season.
Augustana (17-9, 10-6) finished fifth with 32 points as the Vikings qualified for the 2017 CCIW Tournament, their first appearance in the conference postseason since 2003.
North Central (14-11, 8-8) placed sixth with 30 points, followed by Millikin (10-15, 4-12) in seventh with 29 points. North Park (11-14, 4-12) and Carroll (1-23, 1-15) rounded out the poll with 15 and eight points respectively.
Voting is done by the CCIW's head basketball coaches. Each coach votes for the eight other schools in the conference in order of predicted finish. Points are assigned in reverse order of voting (eight points for first, seven for second, etc.). Coaches do not vote for their own teams. The CCIW men’s and women's basketball seasons begin Nov. 15.