For his first year in the MIAA, Pittsburg State head men’s basketball coach Kevin Muff may not be getting the warmest of receptions.

For his first year in the MIAA, Pittsburg State head men’s basketball coach Kevin Muff may not be getting the warmest of receptions.

On Wednesday, the conference coaches and media picked the Gorillas to finish 10th in the annual preseason poll.

The Gorillas received 32 points in the coaches poll. Fort Hays State received six first-place votes and 113 points to earn preseason favorite status, while defending MIAA champion Central Missouri received three first-place votes and 105 points to be tabbed No. 2.

Nebraska-Omaha, the 2009-10 MIAA Postseason Tournament champion, garnered the remaining two first-place votes and 102 points to earn the No. 3 spot.

Despite the votes, Muff is not letting that dampen his spirits.

“It’s great to be at Pitt State,” Muff said. “It’s great to be a Gorilla. It’s a dream come true for me. It’s an exciting time in my life and my family’s life.”

But, he said he knows that for the Gorillas — who will have 11 newcomers with seven returning, including four members from Muff’s Cloud County Community College 2009-10 squad — there has to be a degree of realism.

“I want nothing more than to go through the season undefeated,” Muff said. “Realistically it’s going to be a growing process, a learning process, but don’t tell our guys that and don’t tell our staff that because we’re going come out – our anticipation and expectations are to win every game.”

The Gorillas return two players with starting experience from last year’s squad, which posted a 9-18 overall record and a 3-17 mark in MIAA play.

In the media poll, Pitt State received 56 points from 17 regional voters. UCM received 10 first-place votes and 190 points to edge FHSU for the top spot. The Tigers garnered five first-place votes and 186 points, while UNO got two first-place votes and 157 points for third.

Pitt State will make its season debut on Nov. 9 when the Gorillas host an exhibition game against Livin’ The Dream, a squad of former collegians. Pitt State will open regular season play on Nov. 16 at home against NCAA Division II South Central Region foe Newman University.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140