Detroit Titans preview
After a number of unfamiliar and first-time foes, EMU will see a very familiar opponent in the Convocation Center this weekend. The Eagles have played the University of Detroit Mercy Titans in each of the last six seasons, including a match-up less than 10 months ago, which the Titans won, 68-66. In fact the teams have faced off nine times in the past eleven seasons, skipping only the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, and Detroit has won the last eight games; EMU’s last win over the Titans came more than a decade ago, on December 30, 1999.
First, you can check out the University of Detroit Mercy athletics website here.
|Coach||Ray McCallum (since 2008)|
|Arena (Capacity)||Calihan Hall (8,295)|
|NCAA Record||3-5 (.375)|
|Most Recent NCAA Appearance||1999|
|Most Recent NCAA Win||1999|
|Denomination||Roman Catholic (Jesuit/Sisters of Mercy)|
|Selectivity (US News)||More selective|
|Students (2009)||2,334 (929 M, 1,405 F)|
The University of Detroit Mercy’s originated in 1877 with the founding of Detroit College by the Society of Jesus. The college expanded into the University of Detroit, and in 1927 established a second campus. In 1941, the Sisters of Mercy opened the Mercy College of Detroit, and in 1990, the University of Detroit and Mercy College of Detroit consolidated to become “University of Detroit Mercy”. Notable alumni include novelist Elmore Leonard as well as a whole slew of Michigan politicians and judges. Two Detroit alumni also have EMU connections: Gret Mathis (“Judge Mathis”) received a Bachelor’s degree from EMU before earning his J.D. from Detroit, and Dan Boisture was one of the most successful coaches in the history of EMU football, going 83-38-5 in seven seasons.
Looking more specifically at Detroit men’s basketball, the programs peak came from 1973-77. In four seasons under Dick Vitale (yes, that Dick Vitale, BAY-BEE!), they went 78-30, including a 21-game winning streak in 1977. More recently, they had a fair amount of success under Perry Watson from 1995 through 2004, posting nine consecutive winning seasons, making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1998 and 1999, and going to the NIT Final Four in 2001. Late in Watson’s tenure the team began to struggle, and after going 11-19 in 2006-07 and 7-23 in 2007-08, Watson resigned.
|Head Coach Ray McCallum|
|Detroit Mercy||2008-2011||32-42 (43.2%)|
|Ball State||1993-2000||126-76 (62.4%)|
|Overall: 3 teams, 14 seasons, 202-191 (51.4%)|
A Ball State alumnus, Ray McCallum became his alma mater’s coach 10 years after graduating, following stints as an assistant at Wisconsin and Michigan. In six seasons leading the Cardinals, McCallum never posted a losing record, and won the MAC Tournament twice (1995, 2000). Following the successful 1999-2000 season, in which the Cardinals finished 22-9, winning both the MAC regular season and tournament, McCallum took over the Houston Cougars. In his second season there, McCallum led the Cougars to their first winning season since they moved from the Southwest Conference to Conference USA, but he was unable to maintain the success, falling to 8-20 and 9-18 in his third and fourth seasons in Houston.
After four seasons as an assistant, first at Oklahoma and then at Indiana, McCallum was hired to replace Perry Watson, with whom he’d been as assistant at Michigan in 1993, as head coach of the Detroit Titans.
Since it’s still early in this basketball season, let’s next take a look at how the Titans did in 2009-10.
|Detroit Mercy 2009-2010 record:|
The Titans lost three starters from last year’s team, who were collectively averaging about 29 points per game, as well as three bench contributors, but they seem to have done a fine job of making up for the loss with a very balanced scoring attack.
Here’s the Official Eagle Totem Detroit Titans 2010-11 roster with notes:
|Detroit Titans roster|
|Jason Calliste||10||G||6-2||165||So.||Starter, #4 scorer.|
|Donavan Foster||5||G||5-11||160||Jr.||Bench contributor.|
|Eli Holman||32||F/C||6-10||255||Jr.||Starter, #1 (t) scorer, #1 rebounder.|
|LaMarcus Lowe||20||F/C||6-11||210||Jr.||Bench contributor, 2.3 blocks per game.|
|Ray McCallum||3||G||6-1||185||Fr.||Starter, #3 scorer, #2 rebounder, assist leader.|
|Chase Simon||1||G||6-6||210||Jr.||Starter, #1 (t) scorer.|
You’ve probably noticed that there’s not a senior among them, but at 5-5, they’re doing alright so far this season, and this is likely to be a really tough team for the next few years, as all those underclassmen gain experience. The Titans really go seven players deep, with Minnerath and Foster providing a meaningful contribution off the bench, Hoskins and Bruinsma seeing infrequent action, and Clark rarely getting into the game. McCallum, Calliste, Simon, and Holman are each averaging between 12.3 and 14.1 points per game, and after Holman’s 11.8 rebounds per game the next four are all between 3.5 and 5.1 rebounds per game, so within the starting five, the Titans are a very balanced team. (By way of comparison, for EMU, Bowdry is averaging 20.5 points and 9 rebounds per game, but the next player in each category is Thompson with 7.3 points and Harris with 4.8 rebounds per game.)
Calliste is the best long-range shooter, but Foster, McCallum, and Minnerath can also hit the three reasonably well. Holman and Lowe provide most of the inside play, with Bruinsma occasionally helping out.
In case you were wondering, freshman guard Ray McCallum is indeed the coach’s son. He was a McDonald’s and a Parade All-American, who passed up offers from Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and UCLA to stay very close to home and play for his father.
Next we compare the schedules so far this season (rankings from Ken Pomeroy).
|Sat Nov 13||69||New Mexico||L, 63-54||71||Away||0-1|
|Tue Nov 16||18||Syracuse||L, 66-55||68||Away||0-2|
|Fri Nov 19||NR||Indiana Tech||W, 93-62||76||Home||1-2|
|Mon Nov 22||96||Mississippi St.||L, 82-76||72||Away||1-3|
|Fri Nov 26||258||Albany||W, 84-82||77||2OT||Home||2-3|
|Sat Nov 27||282||Bowling Green||W, 71-62||76||Home||3-3|
|Sun Nov 28||293||Niagara||W, 96-77||87||Home||4-3|
|Wed Dec 1||152||Akron||L, 77-69||70||Home||4-4|
|Sat Dec 4||131||Wright St.||W, 78-69||68||Home||5-4||1-0|
|Wed Dec 8||194||Western Michigan||L, 71-69||67||Away||5-5|
|Fri Nov 12||14||Michigan St.||L, 96-66||88||Away||0-1|
|Wed Nov 17||NR||Madonna||W, 79-70||75||Home||1-1|
|Sat Nov 20||196||Canisius||L, 71-51||73||Away||1-2|
|Sat Nov 27||158||James Madison||L, 74-68||75||Away||1-3|
|Fri Dec 3||290||Monmouth||L, 64-63||66||Neutral||1-4|
|Sat Dec 4||335||North Dakota||L, 54-49||64||Neutral||1-5|
|Sun Dec 5||243||Idaho||L, 75-60||61||Away||1-6|
|Wed Dec 8||228||Drake||L, 58-54||61||Home||1-7|
For the first time this season, the Eagles are facing an opponent who comes into the game playing faster than they do. The Titans are also significantly more efficient than the Eagles, averaging 1.02 points per possession, compared to just 0.87 for EMU. In fact, about the only meaningful measures in which EMU is superior to Detroit are blocks, steals, and assists per turnover. On nearly every other measure, the Titans are better, in some cases much more so. While I certainly hope for otherwise, everything points toward the Titans stretching their win streak in this rivalry to nine games.