Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Make Time for the Titans....

This was going to be the year for the Detroit Mercy Titans.  It looked like Butler might be ready to release its stranglehold on the Horizon, and there was lots of talent coming back from a 17-16 team in Detroit.  They have a proven coach (all-time MAC great Ray McCollum) with at least two marquee players.

Things are not quite working out like that.  First, Eli Holman, their star C (Kelvin Sampson Indiana refugee) was suspended "indefinitely" for an incident on campus.  He has not played and is not expected to play this week.  On top of that, Chris Blake, who contributed 10 points per game last season off the bench has also not played and is not expected to dress this week.

The result of that has been a 2-2 start for the Titans....but both wins were over non-D1 competition.  They lost to Notre Dame and yesterday to George Washington, a game where they trailed at one point by 26 points before rallying to cut the lead to 6 late before losing by 13.

So, it is hard to tell exactly what they do have, absent Holman and Blake.  GW might have been their first honest test.  FWIW, the lost to the Irish was only by 6 points.

Last year, BG and Detroit played at Calihan Hall as part of another "tournament" experience.  BG was in a deep doldrum at the time, and the Titans won by 9.  BG managed only .8 points per possession, their 6th worse offensive performance of the season.  Holman had 13 points and 14 rebounds in that game.  Detroit did not shoot especially well, but BG had 27 fouls and they shot 30 free throws.

The Titans are led by Ray McCollum Jr, the pre-season Horizon POY.  He is tied for the team scoring lead with Chase Simon, who scores but uses a lot of possessions.  Senior F Nick Minnerath was looking to pick up the inside slack and he is also scoring about 15 points per game.  (He was the lead scorer for Detroit last year when BG played them).

It is hard to garner much from their stats so far because they are inflated by the two non-D1 games.  Last year, they were a solid offensive team and a less than solid defensive team.  They gave up almost 1.2 points per possession to GW last night, but that's a pretty good team.

Like the Howard game, this game gives us a clear opportunity to see where we stand compared to last season.  This game is at home and Detroit is short handed compared to last year.  By no means will this be an easy game....Vegas has the game as a toss up,  and AccuScore took the trouble to simulate the game 10,000 times and thinks BG wins 60% of the time.  It is an excellent opportunity for us to see where we stand.

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