October 16, 2012 in Division II
At a glance
- Coach: Kevin Luke, 18th season
- Last year: 16-12, 13-6 GLIAC
- Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)
- Key losses: Mike Hojnacki, Jordan Reetz
- Key additions: Michael Fisher (freshman from Wisconsin), Kyle Stankowski (freshman from Wisconsin), James Wezensky (freshman from Clare), Nic Stoll (freshman from Holly), Luke Heller (freshman from Wisconsin), Jeff Gregory (freshman from Kingsford), Connor McLeod (freshman from Cedarville), Jordan Chartier (freshman from Superior Central)
- Team website
- Team roster
- MTU news on BallinMichigan
Michigan Tech returns a talented core that includes possibly the best player in the league to a team that finished tied for first in the GLIAC North Division last season.
Big man Ali Haidar will deservedly get the bulk of the attention on Michigan Tech’s team this season. He averaged nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game last season and was the GLIAC Player of the Year. The Division II Bulletin recently named Haidar to their preseason Super 16 team. He’s obviously the key to the team’s attack, but Michigan Tech has a chance to make a run at winning the GLIAC North outright because the Huskies return a large chunk of their supporting task as well.
Led by Haidar, Michigan Tech is a good rebounding team and the Huskies took pretty good care of the ball, averaging just 11 turnovers per game. They’re also a good shooting team, hitting 48 percent of their shots overall and 38 percent of their threes. Opponents shot just 42 percent and 34 percent from three against them.
Hojnacki was a solid player and provided a presence up front who could take some pressure off of Haidar. He averaged 11.0 points (third on team) and 4.4 rebounds (second on team) per game while shooting better than 50 percent. He also shot 40 percent from 3-point range, stretching the floor and giving Haidar more room to operate inside. Michigan Tech returns three players who started 25 or more games, but finding adequate production to replace what Hojnacki contributed will be a priority.
The team also could take advantage of its length this season. They only forced nine turnovers per game last season. With eight players on the roster who are 6-foot-6 or taller, they should be able to be more disruptive in passing lanes and create more turnovers.
Michigan Tech actually won all four matchups against the teams it tied for the GLIAC North lead with last season. The Huskies will have to avoid letdowns against lesser teams in the conference this season. They were swept by Grand Valley, a team that finished in the middle of the GLIAC North last season, and lost a game to Saginaw Valley State, a team that was just 6-13 in the GLIAC last season.
Circle these dates …
- Jan. 10 and Feb. 7 – Ferris State tied in the North Division with Michigan Tech. The Huskies swept both games last season.
- Jan. 24 and Feb. 21 – Michigan Tech’s two matchups with Northwood, the other team they tied with for the North Division lead last season. MTU won both matchups last season. I would guess both teams will be seeking a measure of revenge in these games.
With the league’s dominant player returning, Michigan Tech has to be an early favorite to win the GLIAC North.