As the college golf season gets ready to resume, Golfweek will preview each automatic-qualifier conference in Division I, offering picks to win, midseason All-Conference teams and more.
All of our conference previews will reside here.
Next up: Missouri Valley Conference
Conference championship: April 23-24, Dalhousie GC, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Defending champion: Wichita State
Team rankings: Illinois State (95), Southern Illinois (105), Missouri State (142), Bradley (191), Drake (192), Northern Iowa (234), Evansville (258), Valparaiso (264), Loyola-Chicago (270)
Midseason All-Conference team: Peyton Wilhoit, Southern Illinois (142); Zach Burry, Illinois State (304); Trent Wallace, Illinois State (329); Frankie Thomas, Southern Illinois (331); Jack Knoesel, Missouri State (499)
What to expect: There will for certain be a new champion in 2018 … because the defenders, Wichita State, are no longer in the conference (having moved to the AAC). With the Shockers gone, Illinois State becomes the new favorite. The Redbirds came closest to taking down Wichita State at conference last year and currently hold the highest ranking in the conference in 2017-18. They’re the most likely candidate to take over in Wichita State’s absence.
Pick to win: Illinois State
Conference championship: April 15-17, Sand Creek Station GC, Newton, Kan.
Defending champion: Missouri State
Team rankings: Bradley (127), Southern Illinois (158), Missouri State (163), Northern Iowa (172), Indiana State (183), Loyola-Chicago (186), Illinois State (187), Drake (215), Valparaiso (240), Evansville (251)
Midseason All-Conference team: Verena Gimmy, Missouri State (368); Ally Scaccia, Bradley (449); Kiley Walsh, Illinois State (483); Elayna Bowser, Loyola-Chicago (575); Sierra Hargens, Indiana State (602)
What to expect: Missouri State won the conference by 20 shots last year, but the competition is tougher this year. The Bears do have the highest-ranked player, though, and the confidence of dominating last year should me a good deal come championship time.
Pick to win: Missouri State