WMU Preview

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WMU Preview

Postby Commissioner » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:46 pm

Western Michigan

When: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Reed Field House, Kalamazoo, MI
Radio: Titans Network, 910 AM Superstation; Bronco Radio Network, https://z965fm.com/listen-live/?DB_OEM_ID=4600
TV: ESPN 3 (free)

Well, the Titans got a minor monkey off their backs by beating Wayne State this year. There was some good stuff, but lots to work on as well--and not much time to work on it. Now the real show begins.

The Titans open the 2018-19 regular season on Tuesday with cross-state rival Western Michigan, a team we first played in 1917. The Titans hold a 27-25 lead in the series, or maybe a 26-17 lead—in Detroit’s history books, the all-time series is listed as the latter, but reviewing game-by-game results (which may or may not be accurate) it is the former. Or maybe it’s 29-25 Titans—that’s what Western Michigan’s records show, although it’s not just two Titan wins they’ve added—from the early days, they’ve got several scores we don’t have, and don’t have some we do. Anyway you cut it, however, we’ve got the lifetime edge on these Broncs, and it’s not going away for at least a couple more years. And we can all agree that since WWII, we’re 21-18 against the Broncs, but that current Bronco coach Steve Hawkins is 6-4 against the Titans. That includes last year’s 87-79 win at Calihan, when Coach Alexander resumed the series after a five year layoff. That hiatus in the series was caused by Hawkins’ allegations that the Titans were tampering with WMU players—specifically transfers Lamarcus Lowe and Juwan Howard. But now it's a new era of good feelings, although given Coach Davis's non-conference scheduling philosophy, we may not play Western again for a while.

Hawkins’ teams have struggled a bit in recent years. They’re just 46-50 over the past three seasons, having missed 20 wins three years running for the first time in Hawkins’ 15 years at the helm. This year could be worse. The Broncos graduated just two starters, but one of them was Thomas Wilder, #2 all-time in scoring and #3 all-time in assists in Western’s long basketball history. You can plan on graduations, even from a player of Wilder’s caliber, but in addition to those losses, Western has had nothing but bad luck since the end of last season. Reggie Jones, last year’s 6th man and a 10 point per game scorer, transferred to Tulsa. Two other returning starters, senior guard Bryce Moore and junior forward Brandon Johnson, both went out with injuries, probably for the year. Minus 5 of it's top 6 players from last year's 17-15 squad, WMU has generally been picked for the bottom half of the MAC—in the official MAC poll, they were projected for 4th in the 6 team MAC West.

Whatever Western’s problems, you know Bronco fans see us as a cupcake on their schedule. Beyond our largely untested roster, winning on the road is tough. This opener should give us some idea of just how far the Titans have to go.

The Broncs have tuned up for the season with a couple of exhibitions, pulling away from D-II Northwood in the second half for an 86-66 victory, and trouncing D-III Kalamazoo College 110-70 on Saturday (Bass Ollie started for K, but went 0-6 from the field).

After the graduations, transfers and injuries, Hawkins has two returning rotation players, and not surprisingly both will start. Forward Josh Davis plays bigger than his 6-5, 200 lb. frame would suggest, and was the team’s top rebounder and #2 scorer a year ago. Seven-foot center Seth Dugan has been treading water for three years as a #7/8 man in the roation, and will need to amp it up a notch or two if Western is going to be truly competitive in the MAC. So far he has done just that, finishing with 24 points and 8 rebounds against Northwood and 23 and 7 in 22 minutes of playing time against Kalamazoo, making 10 of 12 from the floor. Sophomore Michael Flowers takes over the point, and junior Jared Printy has the monumental task of replacing Wilder. Both are good three point shooters. The final starting spot in the Northwood game went to our own lister UP’s favorite, Powers High School all-everything Jason Whitens. But Whitens played just 13 minutes against Northwood and not at all against K. I couldn't find anything on it but you'd have to guess he suffered a minor injury in the Northwood game. If Whitens isn't available Tuesday the start will likely go to juco transfer Kawanise Wilkins. Meanwhile, we'll list Whitens as "questionable."

For depth, Hawkins has a couple returnees in Adida Ikongshul and TJ Clifford. But Clifford saw very limited time last year ,and Ikongshul was a deep rotation guy before being injured late in the season. Otherwise it's mainly freshman. In particular, watch for William Boyer-Richard, who knocked down 6 of 7 three point attempts against Kalamazoo. I expect Hawkins will still be experimenting with both his starting lineup and his bench so we could see several of the freshmen play. But it’s also likely that the four key starters—Dugan, Davis, Flowers, and Printy—will spend most of the game on the floor, unless it becomes a rout one way or the other.

While this is, with Moore and Johnson out, one of the weakest teams in Hawkins’ lengthy tenure, this will still be a tough opener for the Titans. They’ll have to figure out how to neutralize Dugan at both ends, and he’s got a sizeable height advantage on anyone the Titans can put on the floor. The Broncos also have lots of three point shooting (they made 17 of 30 against outmanned Kalamazoo), so the Titans will be at risk if they sag much on Dugan. Western rolled up big rebounding margins against both Northwood and Kalamazoo, but that's likely a result of the competition. Dugan, is not a particularly good rebounder, although at 7 feet he'll pull down his share of boards and give the Titans problems. Davis is a good rebounder, but he's just 6-5 and is often out on the wing. I was a bit disappointed that the Titans didn't have better control of the boards against Wayne State, but we did grab an impressive 18 offensive boards, so that could be an edge. Western had 29 assists against K--that would have been a school record had the game counted--but also 15 turnovers against the D-III team. Some of those turnovers were the simple result of playing at an up-tempo pace in both games.

In short, the formula for a Titan win may be the same as what pulled it out at Wayne--offensive rebounding, points off turnovers, and get a team without a lot of depth into foul trouble. And the Titans will have to shoot a lot better than 37% overall, and 28% from three. A win would mark the Titans as a team that can beat similar, middle-of-the-pack Horizon teams on the road, and that’s not something to sneeze at. On the other hand, if the Titans can’t at least hang close, that’s a sign that it’s going to be a long season. I just hope—and frankly expect—that unlike the last two Titan squads, this Detroit team will be ready to play from the opening tip.

Take your mind off the elections--head over to Kalamazoo to give the Titans some support.

Western Michigan Starters
G – Michael Flowers, 6-1 Soph. (3.4 ppg, 48.0% 3PtFG)
G – Jared Printy, 6-4 Jr. (2.0 ppg, 38.2% 3PtFG)
SF – Kawanise Wilkins, 6-5 Soph. (14.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg at Barton CC)
F – Josh Davis, 6-5 Sr. (10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 36.2% 3PtFG)
C – Seth Dugan, 7-0 Sr. (5.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg)

Key Reserves
SF – Jason Whitens, 6-5 Soph. (1.1 ppg) (questionable to play)
G – William Boyer-Richard, 6-1 Fr.
G – Adrian Martin, 6-3 Fr.
G - D.J. Houston, 5-11 Fr.
F – Adida Ikongshul, 6-6 Jr. (1.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
F- Patrick Emilien, 6-6 Fr.
F – T.J. Clifford, 6-5 Soph. (played 28 minutes in 2018)
Titan All Americans Calihan Swanson Sparrow Ebben DeBusschere Murray Haywood Long Tyler Duerod Phillips Green McCallum
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby titandave » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:51 pm

Any news on Harrison Curry .... is he eligible to play in the 2018-19 season?

It sure would be nice to see Blackshear and Curry in the front court. :)
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby HoopLove247 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:18 pm

My Guess by Temple game they will have confirmation.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby Rogobob77 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:36 pm

Western Michigan favored by 12 points.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby titanmac » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:25 am

here we go again. seems like something like this crops up every year? my guess is if he’s not approved before the season starts it won’t happen.
In Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power! Well that basketball court out there tonight, that's our universe. Let's rule it like Titans! (with apologies to coach boon)
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby The-Dude » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:17 pm

Tonight will be the start of a legendary year for Josh McFolley.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby ptctitan » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:08 pm

Starting line-up tonight.

Antoine Davis
Marquis Moore
Derrien King
Josh McFolley
Gerald Blackshear
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby Tacitus651 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:19 pm

I like that our coaches are all wearing matching sweater vests tonight.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby ptctitan » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:44 pm

Too bad, we cannot shoot so far in this game. They are hustling hard for loose balls.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby MooseGuy1 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 pm

This is a for sure frustrating to watch. Not unexpected, though. We are essentially a new team cobbled together with Jr. college transfers and freshman. I could see us dropping a game or two this year. Still, Titans basketball is back and I need it.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby MooseGuy1 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:54 pm

The effort is there and that's something. Be interesting to see how the program develops over the next couple of years.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:52 pm

I’m here. No quit in this team! What a difference in coaching, energy, team play, etc.
We may not be super talented, but I like what I see.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby Tacitus651 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:53 pm

Someone get Antoine a retro pair of shorts from the 70s.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby Tacitus651 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:37 pm

Kids played hard. Still a long road back but I think we are going the right direction finally. We need to work on free throws and shoot better all around. Seems to be team chemistry. I don’t think this is a 10th place HL team.

Signing a good recruit or two soon would make me feel better.

It’s hard to overstate how good Antoine Davis looked in his fist game. His 3 point shot is plain deadly. He can shoot deep 3s and can shoot them from either side. Even most of his misses were in and out shots that might fall on a good night. He also gets around the court quite a bit. He seems to have a good intuition about where the ball will be next.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby HoopLove247 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:11 pm

Good game that we could have won in my opinion first half hurt us.I can only hope our free throws get better. I think its just jitters once they get more relaxed and know there positions and where each player stand with coaches. Davis is a talent great game tonight. Rebounds hurt us on both ends. I really liked what I saw from Hamrick he was making some nice passes along with his overall game.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:39 am

I like Hamrick’s game also. Solid!
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby ptctitan » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:23 am

We have a better chance this year because our bench contains players with more athleticism than the benches of the last two years. Hopefully, Isiani gets healthy. A player who can step up and give us a second consistent jump shot will get a lot of playing time. We will struggle against teams with big men until we learn to play the zone better. But these are all things that Coach Davis and his staff will focus his players on improving. Antoine Davis is off to a great start. But we need to develop a second shooter so teams stop double teaming him. He can get the ball to the open guys. It's up to them to score. We certainly could have used Curry last night.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby uofdfan1983 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:44 pm

My mind read your post as "we certainly could have used Corey last night." We could have used Corey last night. Remember that was a huge blow, to me the only loss that really mattered. Corey is a good player and a good kid who got caught up in a bizarre chessgame.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby ptctitan » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:53 am

Hi Tom,

I meant Harrison Curry.

Corey Allen appears to have shrunk an inch in Georgia versus his listed height on our roster for last year. I would have been happy if he stayed, but he decided to leave before the coaching change saga commenced.
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Re: WMU Preview

Postby UDDRUMMER » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:26 pm

Went to the WMU game. Despite the half time score, I liked how the team kept playing to the end of the game. We need to work on free throws and finishing second chance opportunities.

Sat behind the bench, liked how the coaching staff worked sidelines and each time out. Don't think I have seen a zone defense by the Titans before.
I got a fever..the only prescription is more COWBELL!

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http://youtu.be/fyV2cPLuFuA
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