MCAC MBB Coaches Poll: Raiders to Reign in MCAC Northern Division

Jim Russell and the Central Lakes Raiders were selected No. 1 in the 2019-20 MCAC North coaches poll
Jim Russell and the Central Lakes Raiders were selected No. 1 in the 2019-20 MCAC North coaches poll

Winona, MN- 

(image courtesy of CLC Athletics)

The men's basketball head coaches from the Northern Division of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference selected the Central Lakes College Raiders as the top squad in their pre-season coaches poll released today.

Central Lakes and head coach Jim Russell picked up eight of a possible nine first-place votes, with Northland Community & Technical College earning a first-place pick as well.  CLC won the 2019 MCAC State / Region XIII tournament last season and advanced to the 2019-20 NJCAA Division III Men's Basketball National Championships; the Raiders beat previously unbeaten Suffolk County en route to a fourth place overall finish.

This fall, the NJCAA Basketball committee Central Lakes was tabbed #6 nationally; go to this link for the 2019 NJCAA Division III Basketball Pre-Season Poll or visit:

Rainy River Community College head coach Bill Engel and his team picked up all available 2nd place votes in the poll and will look to build upon their 16-11 overall mark last season. The Voyageurs will see a pair of early-season tests when they take on NJCAA Division II United Tribes and NJCAA Division I Bismarck State on Friday November 8-9.  

Lake Superior College fielded a men's basketball team for the first time last season and the IceHawks garnered some respect from Divisional coaches, clocking in tied with Itasca in the fourth spot; Northland landed just above the two programs by one point in coaches poll at #3. Vermilion and Mesabi Range will both feature first-year head coaches, Reed Peterson takes over for the legendary Paul McDonald at VCC and David Wilson will transition from the Mesabi Range football ranks to the Norse basketball sideline this winter.  

Hibbing Community College and Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College round out the 2019-20 MCAC North poll; like their other seven Northern Division comrades, HCC and VCC will start MCAC Divisional play in December, with the first round of Division games across the Arrowhead on Friday, December 20. 

Keep an eye out for MCAC Men's and Women's Basketball 2019-20 Season Previews available later this week, as well as coaches polls in the other three MCAC Divisions. 

2019-20 MCAC Men's Basketball Coaches Poll 

Northern Division 

#1) Central Lakes College (8)

#2) Rainy River Community College 

#3) Northland Community & Technical College (1)

T #4) Itasca Community College 

T #4) Lake Superior College

#5) Vermilion Community College 

#6) Mesabi Range College

#7) Hibbing Community College 

#8) Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College 

The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, as well as select member colleges in North Dakota and Wisconsin.  The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions.  The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.

For more information, visit

Be sure to follow our MCAC Facebook and Twitter feeds @MCACSports 

               OUR PURPOSE

The Marine Corps defends the people of the United States at home and abroad. To do that, we make Marines who win our Nation's battles and return as quality citizens.

                  Our Mission

To be the best Sports Company in the World.



When you want your team to look as good as they play, trust the experts at Nicklasson Athletic Company. With more than 80 years of combines sales expertise, NAC is on your team with the latest, most innovative apparel and products to help your team, school, corporation or organization look and play their best. When you look great, you play great.