Detroit (19-11) at Illinois-Chicago (16-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (8,000) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: Horizon League Network. Home Record: Detroit 13-2, UIC 10-3. Away Record: Detroit 6-9, UIC 4-9. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, UIC 2-1. Conference Record: Detroit 11-4, UIC 7-8. Series Record: Detroit leads, 25-14.
GAME NOTES: The Detroit Titans look to keep their hopes of a Horizon League regular season championship alive as they visit the UIC Pavilion for a bout with the Illinois-Chicago Flames.
Ray McCallum's Titans suffered their second loss in three games as they ventured out of conference and suffered an 83-78 setback at Temple on Thursday. Detroit trails Valparaiso by a single game in the league standings but the Crusaders have already clinched the No. 1 seed throughout the conference tourney. The Titans need to win on Saturday to insure a second place finish. Detroit is 19-11 on the season including its 6-9 mark in true road tests.
UIC snapped a three-game losing skid on Tuesday with a 60-55 home victory over Wright State. The Flames enter the weekend tied with Youngstown State for fifth place in the league standings. They improved to 10-3 at home with the decision over the Raiders. UIC is not a run and gun team like the visitors as it produces only 61.8 ppg, but it has made up for it defensively by holding 10 of its opponents under 35 percent shooting from the floor.
This will be the second encounter of the season between these schools. Detroit coasted to a 98-47 rout of the Flames on Jan. 19 at Calihan Hall as Ray McCallim filled up the stat sheet with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Gary Talton netted 11 points for UIC, which trailed 53-14 at halftime in round one. The Titans are 25-14 versus the Flames in history.
The Titans are one of the most difficult teams to defend in the nation as indicated by their scoring average of 78.9 ppg that ranks sixth nationally. Defensively, there is room for improvement as they give up nearly 70 points per tilt. McCallum, whose father of the same name is the team's head coach, paces the squad with 19.2 points and 4.7 assists per outing. Nick Minnerath is Detroit's most productive forward with 15.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Jason Calliste has proven he can fill it up on occasion and posts 14.0 ppg with a 38.2 percent efficiency rating from beyond the arc, while Doug Anderson and Juwan Howard Jr. both serve their duties as role players well.
The Flames have a balanced attack with Talton, Daniel Barnes, Josh Crittle and Hayden Humes all scoring in double figures on a regular basis. Talton is a solid all-around player with averages of 12.9 points, four rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while Crittle pulls down a team-best 5.3 boards per tilt. Barnes spearheaded the charge against Wright State in the team's most recent outing with 13 points and nine rebounds. The Flames were very aggressive against the Raiders which led to 32 free-throw attempts.
The Titans may not dominate UIC quite as easily as they did earlier in the season, but they showed they are a superior squad and have no excuse to lose this one despite being on the road. McCallum and company will be eager to get back on track after stumbling against the Owls during the week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 72, Illinois-Chicago 57
03/02 10:46:14 ET