UIC Ranked 3rd, NIU 5th In Mid-Major Poll
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Illinois Chicago Ranked 3rd, NIU 5th In Mid-Major Poll

Chicago Hoops
November 12, 2003

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The University of Illinois-Chicago is ranked third, and Northern Illinois University is ranked fifth in the ESPN preseason Mid-Major team rankings. UIC is the favorite to win the Horizon League, while NIU is one of the favorites in the Mid-American Conference.

UIC returns five regulars last year’s 21-9 team including leading scorer Cedrick Banks (19.0 ppg), who will contend for Player of the Year honors in the Horizon League. Martell Banks (8.1 apg) and Armond Williams (13.6 ppg) should also figure prominently for the Flames. Newcomers Marcetteaus McGee and Elliott Poole, both former stars at Chicago Farragut, will provide added depth.

Northern Illinois returns Marcus Smallwood (13.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg), who averaged a double-double last year. Also back is P.J. Smith (14.7 ppg). Last year, the Huskies finished with a record of 17-14, and rode a tenacious defense to a second place finish in the West Divison of the MAC.

Gonzaga heads the Mid-Major rankings followed by Wichita State, UIC, Creighton, NIU, Akron, Manhattan, College of Charleston, Butler and Miami (Ohio).