Detroit (0-0) at South Alabama (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 8, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,000) -- Mobile, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: UDM 0-0, USA 0-0. Away Record: UDM 0-0, USA 0-0. Neutral Record: UDM 0-0, USA 0-0. Conference Record: UDM 0-0, USA 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Matthew Graves will make his head coaching debut as his South Alabama Jaguars begin their season against the Detroit Titans in a non- conference matchup at the Mitchell Center.
Graves was an assistant coach at Butler from 2000-2010 and the associate head coach of the Bulldogs for the last three seasons. He should be very familiar with Butler's former Horizon League foe Detroit, which will begin the season with four new starters. Coach Ray McCallum led the Titans to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 before a trip to the NIT in 2013. Detroit will have to rely on a handful of inexperienced players to contend for the Horizon League crown this year after losing many of its valuable components, including the Sacramento King's second-round draft pick, Ray McCallun, Jr.
Graves inherited a decent program as the Jaguars are coming off of a 17-win campaign that was highlighted by a season-opening victory over Florida State and ended with a first-round loss to Tulane in the CIT. South Alabama is going to be a tough matchup for any team it faces due to its star forward, Augustine Rubit, who is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
This will be the first meeting in history between Detroit and South Alabama.
McCallum has high expectations for his squad due to the addition of Michigan transfer Carlton Brundidge. The Wolverines considered Brundidge their gem recruit until Trey Burke arrived on the scene to soak up the majority of the minutes. Although Brundidge is an excellent scorer for a floor general, his decision-making ability will be more vital, as much of Detroit's success last season came courtesy of its efficiency that had it ranked third in the nation in turnover percentage. The team's top returners, Juwan Howard, Jr (7.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Evan Bruinsma (5.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg), will both have bigger roles offensively, while junior college transfer Patrick Onwenu (6-8, 210) has potential to be a force on the interior.
The lack of experience at forward may be too much for the Titans to overcome. Rubit averaged a double-double last season with 19.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and Mychal Ammons was a nice complementary player at the other forward position with 10.8 points and 6.3 boards per outing. USA has a decent off-guard in Antoine Allen (9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg), who will most likely be assigned the duty of stopping Brundidge. The point guard position is the biggest question mark for Graves, who will have to trust the unproven freshman duo of T.J. Johnson and Aakim Saintil to run the offense.
McCallum has not experienced a losing season at Detroit since his inaugural campaign in 2008-09. This season's squad has potential to make a third trip to a postseason tournament, but he will need to quickly get his big men up to speed to avoid an 0-1 start as Rubit is capable of taking over a game on his own. The Jaguars' inexperience at guard could hold them back, especially if Brundidge lives up the expectations that were placed upon him after his stellar prep career.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 68, Detroit 64
11/08 10:49:26 ET