NAPERVILLE, Ill.-- Reigning Great West Conference champion Utah Valley was selected as the favorite in the 2013 GWC Preseason Coaches Poll released Thursday. The Wolverines have captured each of the last three league titles. North Dakota was slotted sixth in the poll.
Utah Valley is gunning to improve on its 76-4 all-time mark in GWC play and was the pick to win the league by seven of the eight league coaches. The second through sixth teams in the poll were separated by just 15 points. Runner-up Houston Baptist grabbed 46 points and the other first-place vote while NJIT was right behind with 45 points.
Texas Pan-American was fourth (40) with Northern Colorado (34) and North Dakota (31) in fifth and sixth, respectively. NYIT (16) and Chicago State (13) rounded out the poll.
NJIT will serve as the host for the conference's 2013 postseason tournament, May 21-25, at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark, N.J.
North Dakota begins its season Feb. 18 at the H. H. H. Metrodome with a four-game slate against Mount Marty College. UND's conference opener comes on April 5 at Houston Baptist.
UND is in its final season in the Great West Conference before joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 2013-14.
2013 Great West Conference Preseason Poll
1. Utah Valley (7) 63 pts.
2. Houston Baptist (1) 46 pts.
3. NJIT 45 pts.
4. Texas-Pan American 40 pts.
5. Northern Colorado 34 pts.
6. North Dakota 31 pts.
7. NYIT 16 pts.
8. Chicago State 13 pts.