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Loyola picked 9th in Missouri Valley preseason poll

Loyola enters the Missouri Valley Conference ranked ninth in the league’s preseason poll among its 10-member league.

The Ramblers are predicted to finish ahead of only Drake, which will have a new head coach in former longtime Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti.

But Loyola already is getting a big welcome to the league as its newest member and the team that brings the Chicago market to the longtime midwestern basketball conference.

Loyola hosted Wednesday’s daylong media day, with commissioner Doug Elgin saying the addition of the Ramblers to replace Creighton—now part of the new Big East—``is about the future.’’

The Wichita State Shockers, which reached the NCAA Final Four last season, are the pre-season top pick, with senior forward Cleanthony Early named the pre-season player of the year.

The Shockers were the unanimous top choice in the preseason poll, followed by Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Missouri State, Bradley, Evansville, Illinois State and Southern Illinois ahead of Loyola and Drake.

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