Northern Illinois (0-0) at Nebraska Omaha (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ralston Arena (4,691) -- Ralston, Nebraska. Television:
None. Home Record: NIU 0-0, UNO 0-0. Away Record: NIU 0-0, UNO 0-0. Neutral
Record: NIU 0-0, UNO 0-0. Conference Record: NIU 0-0, UNO 0-0. Series Record:
Nebraska Omaha leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Nebraska Omaha Mavericks are set to open up Ralston Arena and
their 2012-2013 season as they host the Northern Illinois Huskies for non-
Coach Mark Montgomery failed to bring the success he found at Michigan State
as an assistant to DeKalb last season, and the Huskies finished 3-22 in his
inaugural year at the helm of the program. NIU should be able to make strides
in the right direction this season as the team's top-five scorers and rebounds
all return with experience and chips on their shoulders. The Huskies defeated
Division III Aurora by 34 points in its only exhibition game.
UNO is beginning its second season since reclassifying to the NCAA Division I
level. The Mavericks finished 11-18 in their first run through the highest
division in college basketball. They are now members of the Summit League, but
they will not be eligible for the conference or NCAA Tournament until
2015-2016. UNO was able to make the transition under Derrin Hansen, who is
entering his eighth year as the program's head coach with a 121-86 overall
This will be just the second meeting on the hardwood between UNO and NIU. The
Mavericks managed to escape DeKalb with a 77-72 victory last December to build
a 1-0 series lead.
For NIU, sophomore Abdel Nader (10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and junior Aksel Bolin
(10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg) return after serving as bright spots to the team's
nightmare of a season a year ago. Nader earned a spot on the MAC All-Freshman
Team last season and led the team with 22 blocks. NIU is going to exhibit its
backcourt of the future as the freshmen tandem of Akeem Springs and Travon
Baker make their debuts in the starting lineup. Sophomore twin forwards Kevin
and Keith Gray will play much bigger roles this season.
UNO was lucky to add senior forward Koang Doluony to its roster in the off
season. Doluony brings size and experience with him to the squad after
spending his first three years playing for Indiana State. Alex Welhouse (6-7)
and John Karnoff (6-8) will play alongside Doluny to give the Mavericks' a
decently sized front line. Karhoff not only provides size, but also a scoring
touch that netted him 12.9 ppg last season as a sophomore. C.J. Carter and
Justin Simmons will man the UNO backcourt. Carter was selected as the
independent freshman of the year last season after posting 10.4 ppg.
Last season's hard-fought battle will be quickly remembered when its sequel
begins. NIU should be a much different looking team with its newcomers
stepping into vital roles right away. UNO will need a strong performance out
of its forwards to improve to 2-0 against the Huskies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 70, Nebraska Omaha 68
11/09 10:37:22 ET
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