The UNI men’s basketball team has been picked to finish first in the Missouri Valley Conference as voted by coaches, sports information directors, and media.
The Panthers finished with 30 first-place votes followed by Loyola with 13 and Bradley with one vote. The last time the Panthers were selected as the preseason favorite was prior to the 2009-10 season, that year the Panthers won the MVC Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with victories over UNLV and Kansas.
UNI’s junior guard AJ Green has been selected as the Pre-season Player of the Year and landed on the Preseason All-MVC First Team. Green was named the league’s 2020 Larry Bird Player of the Year last season after averaging 19.7 points per game, shooting 41.6 percent from the floor.
Fellow junior Austin Phyfe has been selected to the First Team. Phyfe was named First Team All-MVC last season after leading the league rebounding and in field goal percentage. Trae Berhow has been named to the Preseason Third Team. The 6-5 guard returns for his senior season after earning a spot on the MVC Most-Improved team a season ago. Berhow was one of the most efficient shooters in the country from beyond the arc in his junior campaign, completing 44.6 percent of his shots beyond the arc.