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Detroit Titans preview

December 11, 2010

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.

Team
Info
Conference Horizon League
Location Detroit, MI
Coach Ray McCallum (since 2008)
Arena (Capacity) Calihan Hall (8,295)
NCAA Appearances 5
NCAA Record 3-5 (.375)
Most Recent NCAA Appearance 1999
Most Recent NCAA Win 1999
School
Info
Founded 1877
Type Private
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
Team Years Record
Detroit Mercy 2008-2011 32-42 (43.2%)
Houston 2000-2004 44-73 (37.6%)
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:
Split W-L Pct
Total 20-14 0.588
Home 11-5 0.688
Away 7-9 0.438
Neutral 2-0 1.0
Conference 9-9 0.5
Conf Home 5-4 0.556
Conf Away 4-5 0.444
Conf Neutral 0-0
Top 25 0-2 0.0
RPI 1-50 0-3 0.0
RPI 51-100 1-3 0.25
RPI 101-150 2-3 0.4
RPI 151-200 4-1 0.8
RPI 200+ 11-3 0.786

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
Name # Pos. Wt. Ht. Yr. Comments
Evan Bruinsma 33 F 6-7 205 Fr.
Jason Calliste 10 G 6-2 165 So. Starter, #4 scorer.
Connor Clark 21 G/F 6-7 200 Fr.
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.
John Hoskins 24 F 6-10 210 So.
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.
Nick Minnerath 34 F 6-8 220 Fr. Starter.
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.

Player stats:

GP GS MPG PPG FG% FT% 3P% RPG ORPG DRPG APG TPG SPG BPG FPG
#3 R. McCallum 10 9 33.6 13.0 40.0 67.3 31.0 5.1 1.7 3.4 3.7 2.2 1.8 0.2 2.3
#10 J. Calliste 10 9 33.1 12.3 38.6 66.7 38.2 3.5 0.6 2.9 0.9 2.0 1.2 0.1 2.2
#1 C. Simon 10 9 32.8 14.1 41.5 61.5 26.5 4.4 1.2 3.2 2.2 2.7 1.5 0.1 3.1
#32 E. Holman 10 9 32.5 14.1 62.1 68.8 0.0 11.8 4.4 7.4 1.3 3.1 0.8 1.3 2.9
#34 N. Minnerath 10 9 24.9 8.8 45.0 81.6 30.0 4.6 1.8 2.8 1.8 2.0 0.7 0.1 3.0
#5 D. Foster 10 0 21.8 6.0 41.5 66.7 36.4 2.1 0.5 1.6 1.9 1.5 1.3 0.0 2.1
#20 L. Lowe 10 0 15.1 4.4 53.6 56.0 0.0 3.3 1.8 1.5 0.1 2.1 0.3 2.3 2.6
#24 J. Hoskins 8 0 7.75 0.63 22.2 14.3 0.0 0.88 0.38 0.5 0.0 0.75 0.13 0.38 0.88
#33 E. Bruinsma 7 0 6.14 1.86 83.3 100.0 100.0 1.43 0.29 1.14 0.29 0.43 0.43 0.14 0.71
#21 C. Clark 3 0 2.33 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.67 0.0 0.67 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Next we compare the schedules so far this season (rankings from Ken Pomeroy).

Date Opp Rank Opponent Result Pace Location Record Conf
Detroit Mercy
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
EMU
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.

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