2012-13 Division I Basketball Preview: With Horizon League’s top player, University of Detroit has another shot at NCAA Tourney

October 25, 2012 in Division I

It’s hard to believe, but college basketball season is almost here. This week, we’ll preview Michigan’s seven Division I schools.

By Pardeep Toor

At a glance

At a glance

Overview

With the return of Ray McCallum Jr. and the departure of Butler from the conference, Detroit should be once again among the favorites to win the Horizon League this season and earn their second consecutive birth in the NCAA Tournament.

Strengths

McCallum Jr. is pretty good at playing basketball. He averaged 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals on 45.8 percent shooting from the field last season. Pretty good but even more will be expected of him if the team is going to get a tournament win.

The Titans also have a second elite athletic talent on the roster in 6-foot-6 small forward Doug Anderson, who has yet to show an all-around game to match his NBA-level athleticism. Anderson averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds on 52.2 percent shooting from the field last season. Based on the unreliable eye test, I’m willing to bet most of his points and shots came on dunks and putbacks, which is fine, but he’s capable of doing more. If his game even mildly developed over the off-season, Anderson has an opportunity to be the team’s second option in his final collegiate season.

The biggest boost to the Titans lineup will be the healthy return of Nick Minnerath, who missed most of last season due to injury and redshirted. As a junior, he was the team’s co-MVP and had six games of 20 or more points, which led the team.

Weaknesses

It will likely be Minnerath, but the Titans are in search of a No. 2 scorer behind McCallum after the departure of Simon. Simon averaged 13.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 33.6 minutes last season as McCallum’s backcourt mate. Despite shooting poorly from the field (37 percent), Simon was the only player other than McCallum who could drive the hoop and create his own shot last season. A consistent second scoring option is vital to take the pressure off McCallum as he will be constantly swarmed and double-teamed as opposing teams attempt to get the ball out of his hands.

Detroit will also have adjust their defense or find a way to replace center Lowe, who led the team with 2.3 blocks a game last season, and forward Holman, one of the top defensive players in the Horizon League.

Circle these dates …

  • Nov. 13 — Detroit plays at St. John’s of the Big East, a team that will be rebuilding after losing top player Moe Harkless to the NBA.
  • Nov. 24 — The Titans head to Florida to take on Miami.
  • Dec. 1 — Detroit travels to Pittsburgh.
  • Dec. 17 — In perhaps the team’s toughest game, the Titans take on preseason No.9 Syracuse.
  • Dec. 28 — Detroit gets to see one of the top teams former conference foe Butler will now compete with in the Atlantic 10 when they play at Temple.

Outlook

Detroit has the best player and the most experience in big games in the conference, which is a perfect combination for a conference title and a second consecutive birth in the NCAA Tournament. Unless they beat No. 9 Syracuse on the road on Dec. 17, their out-of-conference schedule may not be strong enough to earn an at-large bid so the Titans have to fight against a letdown in the Horizon League tournament in March.

Previously


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