Bronchos are ready to earn respect in the MIAA


That’s how Central Oklahoma coach Terry Evans described his feelings about the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association preseason men’s basketball rankings released earlier today.

UCO was ranked seventh in the MIAA coaches’ poll and ninth in the media poll.

“I was kind of disappointed looking at the preseason poll because I think we’re being judged on what we did last year,” Evans said.  “And I don’t think people understand that last year we played 19 out of 26 games on the road.  And we weren’t in a conference.

“I think its kind of unfair to be judged on a year like that as opposed to what your program has done over the last five to 10 years.”

And his program has made its mark over the last several years.  UCO went to the Elite Eight in 2008 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2011.  The Bronchos made the NCAA Division II national tournament in seven of the last nine years.  Central went 15-11 last season with an independent schedule.

“But we’re excited,” Evans said.  “We’re a little disappointed and feel disrespected right now, but that’s why you play the games.”

UCO will be playing in its first season in the powerful MIAA.  The Bronchos were in the Lone Star Conference two years ago and had a very tough independent schedule last season.

But Evans is ready to take on the new set of foes and because the MIAA is in the same region as the LSC, there is already some awareness of the team’s conference rivals.

“We feel confident,” Evans said.  “We’re not yet as familiar with teams as we were with the teams in the Lone Star Conference.  But we know what they want to do and they, to an extent, know what we want to do.

“And we’re looking to something new.  And we’re also looking forward to playing some home games this year.”

Evans is looking for production from his returnees this season, as well as from a host of new players.

A pair of seniors highlights the list of those coming back for the Bronchos – post players Josh Davis and Spencer Smith.  Among the newcomers is James Watson, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Kansas State.

“We’re very big and very deep,” Evans said. “We’re going to play hard each night.  And if we defend and rebound and do the things that are important, we’ll be all right.

“And our chemistry is great.  That’s something we’ve always had here.  We have a family atmosphere and guys that are pulling for each other.  That makes the difference in a team that wins 25 games and one that wins 15.”

Central opens the season at home against Southwestern Christian on Nov. 15.  The Bronchos start league play Dec. 6, at Pittsburg State.

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