MBB Tournament Preview: 2K Sports Classic - Nov. 22-24th, 2013
What: 2013 2K Sports Classic
When: November 22-24th, 2013
The Teams: Detroit (host), Florida Atlantic, Stony Brook, and Toledo
The Format: Single Round Robin
Where: Dick Vitale Court at Calihan Hall - Detroit, MI
Radio Broadcast: ESPN 106.3 FM (Fri & Sun Only)
Internet Broadcast: Sat vs Stony Brook (Stony Brook Feed)
Internet Broadcast: FAUSports.TV (FEE)
Game #1: Toledo vs Stony Brook - Nov. 22nd @ 4:30 PM
Game #2: Detroit vs. Florida Atlantic - Nov. 22nd @ 7:00 PM
Game #3: Stony Brook vs Florida Atlantic - Nov. 23rd @ 3:00 PM
Game #4: Toledo vs Detroit - Nov. 23rd @ 5:30 PM
Game #5: Florida Atlantic vs Toledo - Nov. 24th @ 1:30 PM
Game #6: Detroit vs Stony Brook - Nov. 24th @ 4:00 PM
*All times EST
Latest Lines: Here
Detroit (2-2) at a Glance
Titans Team Site
G Anton Wilson 6.5 ppg
G Carlton Brundidge 10.8 ppg
F Juwan Howard, Jr. 17.3 ppg
F Evan Bruinsma 7.5 ppg
C Ugochukwu Njoku 4.0 ppg
The Titans and Owls have faced off one time prior to Saturday's tilt, with Detroit coming away a 83-73 victor way back on Dec. 20, 1993.
One could consider the Titans a former shadow of themselves after reaching a #15 ranking in 2012 with a 2nd round appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and a showing in the NIT last season.
Gone are last season's top four scorers and with that 64% of total offensive output. The most notable loss would be in All-American guard Ray McCallum, who was selected 36th overall in the NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings after boasting averages of 18.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
To offset the transition, the program has seen increased production from lone returning starter F Juwan Howard, Jr. (17.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg), who is the son of current Miami Heat assistant coach and former player Juwan Howard. They also gained the services of transfer shooting guard Carlton Brundidge (10.8 ppg), who joins the program after a one year stint at the University of Michigan.
As the go-to-guy, Howard can shoot the long ball with some success (30.4%), and ironically has the most attempts for the squad thus far on the year (23). As a whole however, Detroit has yet to find long range as a team at 27.7%.
Freshmen point guards Jarod Williams (9.5 ppg), and Matthew Grant (8.5 ppg) round out the other key contributions offensively.
The true Titan front court is not stellar at proficiency. While hoisting up 30% of overall shots, the trio of F Evan Bruinsma, C Ugochukwu Njoku, and F Patrick Onwenu combine for only a 31.3% connect rate.
Detroit comes into the tournament having been blown out by UCONN 101-55, while also dropping a 74-58 contest to Sun Belt member South Alabama in which they shot 7.1% (1-of-14) from downtown.
Their pair of wins comes by way of of NAIA University of Michigan-Dearborn (106-51) and James Madison (71-67).
- Rick Henderson
Florida Atlantic (1-3) at a Glance
G Pablo Bertone 17.3 ppg
F Justin Raffington 10.3 ppg
C Dragan Sekelja 9.8 ppg
While the record doesn't show it yet, the 2013-14 Owls are posting some considerable progress in a few areas of note over last season. Rebounds (+4.3 pg), assists (+2.5 pg), and scoring (+6.1 ppg) have all seen increases through four contests. This is mainly attributed to play in the front court.
Junior forward Justin Raffington (7.5 rpg) is making his presence known off the glass, and fellow front court C Dragan Sekelja has notched 10 dishes after posting just 41 total all of last year. At that rate, the big man would end the year with a +35 margin. Sekelja's scoring upswing (+6.4 ppg) is noted as well. The Owls currently sit 82nd on the national level overall, and 2nd in C-USA, in offensive rebounds with 12.5 per game.
"I do think they could end up being very formidable players (together), and can be optimistic about having an inside presence; which is something we've never really had", said Head Coach Mike Jarvis. "If we've got a couple of guys that have their size that can put pressure on the other team, it gives the other guys a chance to get better."
Additionally, the squad has tallied 100 attempts at the line thus far through four games, a pace that would place them 132 (+4.4 pg) tries overall ahead of last year but obviously making it all the more important to connect successfully.
"We missed too many free throws at the end (of Boston College), we had three situations where we only came away with one."
FAU is near the bottom of Conference USA Teams with a current success rate of 65.0% at the line. The exception to that showing is D'Andre Johnson, who is a perfect 12-of-12 on the year. Johnson, who hails from Detroit, will play in front of family and friends in the tournament.
Tasked with completing three games in an estimated time of just 68.5 hours from start to finish, FAU will have to find a way to keep their legs from growing tired. The Owls should be able to come away with two wins, and three is certainly not out of the question. But consistency will need to be there, with better overall team chemistry. Regardless, for now the name of the game is continued improvement.
"We need to be much more precise, and much more disciplined on the offensive end, start to accomplish the next phase", said Jarvis. "I'm talking about being a well oiled machine, as team that can reverse the ball, go inside, and do what it wants to do."
The line-up will continue to see uncertainty at the point guard spot. With Marquan Botley and Johnson each having their moments, no clear winner has been established as of yet for the permanent starter's role. In addition, the two guard has now come into speculation as well.
"Trapp has got to become a little more consistent to solidify a starting spot at the other wing", explained Jarvis. "Right now his name is not in pen. Morrow would be the other guy, and then we have the option of going with the two little guys together in the back court."
Florida Atlantic is 4-4 overall in early season Tournament play through the last three seasons.
- Rick Henderson
Stony Brook (3-1) at a Glance
Seawolves Team Site
G Anthony Jackson, 18.0 PPG
G Dave Coley, 6.3 PPG
G Ahmad Walker, 3.0 PPG
F Jameel Warney, 16.0 PPG
F Eric McAlister, 9.3 PPG
The Seawolves are beginning their 8th season under head coach Steve Pikiell, and after a 3-1 start in 2013-14 the squad is looking for their first conference championship.
The team finished 2012-13 campaign with a 24-7 record, finding themselves back-to-back regular season champions. The Seawolves qualified for the NIT and made it to the second round before falling to Iowa who would continue on to the finals.
Stony Brook returns four out of its five starters from last season and are anchored by sophomore forward Jameel Warney, who led the Seawolves in points in 2012-13. Warney has three double-doubles in the first four games and leads the team in field goal percentage. The sophomore was 1st in the conference in field goal percentage with .618 last year as a freshman.
The Seawolves returned three seniors this year including guard Anthony Jackson who leads the team in points per game with 18 and is still perfect at the free throw line through four games.
Senior guard Dave Coley has had a slow start to the season only averaging 6.3 points per game after averaging 11.1 last season and earning preseason All-America East honors. He finished 2012-13 second on the team in total points and free throws made, and was named to the American East All-Defensive team.
The Seawolves are also finding support from sophomore guard Carson Puriefoy who is averaging 12 points per game and led the team during the loss to Indiana with a career high 22 points and 4 steals.
Stony Brook was predicted to finish 2nd behind Vermont in the American East, and is looking to win their first conference tournament. The Seawolves have wins over Marist (71-55), Haveford (81-65), and Northeastern (73-66). This is only the 3rd 3-0 start in the program's D1 history.
- Jake Sansom
Toledo (3-0) at a Glance
Rockets Team Site
G Julius Brown 18.0 ppg
G Justin Drummond 16.7 ppg
G Rian Pearson 15.3 ppg
F J.D. Weatherspoon 10.7 ppg
C Nathan Boone 11.0 ppg
The Rockets travel to Detroit off to their best start in four years under coach Tod Kowalczyk. Toledo is 3-0 and recently took down Boston College 95-92 on the road.
Last season the team went 15-13 and finished atop the MAC Western Division, but a postseason ban stemming from several years of below-standard scores on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate kept Toledo out of the conference tournament.
Leading the Rockets this year is two preseason all-conference selections in guards Rian Pearson and Julius Brown. Together the duo helps form one of the most electric mid-major backcourts in the country, as the two average a combined 33.8 points per game.
Pearson is a senior, who transferred from UW-Green Bay in 2010, while Brown runs the team’s offense. The junior averages nearly a double-double with his passing ability and ranked 5th in the conference last season with an average of 33.6 minutes per game and 4th with 167 assists on the year.
Joining Pearson and Brown in the lineup is another ball-handler in Justin Drummond. The junior transferred from Loyola (MD) after being named the MAAC Sixth Player of the Year in 2011. He sat out last season after transferring, but is averaging 16.7 points a contest through three games.
Along with the trio of guards, the Rockets get production from center Nathan Boothe, who was named to the MAC All-Freshmen team last season. Boothe has the ability to dominate under the basket while also working outside to set screens for the backcourt.
Toldeo was selected by the media to finish first in the MAC Western Division this year, and is expected to contend for postseason play. In addition to the win over Boston College, the Rockets have beat Northwest Ohio (102-55) and Florida A&M (79-69). The Rockets are 4-5 under Kowalczyk in early season college basketball tournaments.
- Andrew Ivins