Men’s Basketball — MIAA conference preview

Although the men’s basketball team having  begun play with a 66-57 win on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at Ohio Wesleyan, the team still has over a month until MIAA play begins on Jan. 5 at Olivet. The Britons finished fourth in the conference last season with a record of 8-6. The Britons were picked to finish fifth in the league this season behind Hope and Calvin College who were picked first and second, and Olivet and Adrian who were picked third and fourth.

Their preseason ranking of fifth in the MIAA is too low; instead, they will finish at least third behind Calvin and Hope, if not higher. Albion is returning their two top scorers from last season, J.C. Cruse, Detriot senior and Chris Hutton, Metamora junior. Their offense will still be top-notch and their defense vastly improved because of the senior post players.

Olivet College, Jan. 5 and Jan. 29          Current Record: 0-1     Preseason Rank: 3

Last Season: 14-13 (Conference: 8-6)    Record vs. Albion: 2-1

The Comets have four seniors on a squad that beat Albion, Calvin and Hope at least once in the same season for the first time since 1981-82.  Olivet also has made the MIAA tournament semifinals two seasons in a row. The 2010 MIAA MVP Michael McClary leads the quartet of seniors. The Comets also boast a second-team All-MIAA selection in senior Andre Evans. The team is filled out with experience with six juniors and just two freshmen. The Britons will play the Comets close, but their defense will shut down Michael McClary for at least a split of the two meetings.

Alma College, Jan. 8 and Feb. 2             Current Record: 1-0     Preseason Rank: 8

Last Season: 4-22 (Conference 1-13)    Record vs. Albion: 0-2

The Scots again have a young team with just 2 seniors and 3 juniors on the 16-man roster. The roster also includes 7 freshmen. The Scots lost 4  seniors from last season, including leading scorer Kevin Ginther. These will be the Britons easiest games of the year; Alma has no experience to match up with us in any position, so the Britons will complete the season sweep.

Adrian College, Jan. 12 and Feb. 5          Current Record: 0-0    Preseason Rank: 4

Last Season: 15-12 (Conference: 9-5)     Record vs. Albion: 1-1

The Bulldogs return seven varsity team members from last season. Their leading scorer from last season Jovon Mosley who ranked seventh in the MIAA in scoring returns for his senior season.  Three-point specialist, sophomore Wesley Reed is looking to improve on making 33.6 percent of his three pointers a year ago. The Bulldogs also return a solid point guard in sophomore Delano Collins who was second in the MIAA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.74 and fourth in assists per game at 3.84. Although the Bulldogs return a lot of their offense, the Britons have more fire power with Hutton, Cruse and KolinKazen, Holland sophomore and will win both mettings agaisnt Adrian.

Trine College, Jan. 15 and Feb. 9             Current Record: 0-1   Preseason Rank: T 6

Last Season: 8-18 (Conference: 2-12)     Record vs.  Albion: 0-2

Although the Thunder have only three seniors, they are also returning both of their top scorers in sophomores Scott Rogers and Ian Jackson. In the interior, the Thunder should be improved with two juniors in Alex Croll and Tim Pearcy. The Thunder will miss their second leading scorer from last year in Wes Weir. This is also a youthful squad with 6 sophomores and 3 freshmen. The Britons have a lot more experience as a whole, and again have more offense. They will have no problem completing a season sweep of the Thunder.

Kalamazoo College, Jan. 19 and Feb. 12    Current Record: 0-1   Preseason Rank: T 6

Last Season: 6-20 (Conference 5-9)            Record vs. Albion: 0-2

The Hornets return both their leading scorers from last season in senior Elvin Caldwell, and junior Joe Prepolec.  The Hornets have a great balance of experience and youth with seven seniors and 8 sophomores, and also have one of the larger teams with 22 members. Although the Hornets have more experience than last season, they are virtually the same team as last season. The Britons have way more offense and better defense and will win both meetings agaisnt the Hornets.

Hope College, Jan. 22 and Feb. 16              Current Record: 0-0     Preseason Rank: 1

Last Season: 21-8 (Conference 11-3)          Record vs. Albion: 2-0

The Flying Duthcmen returns a squad with no freshmen and 11 players from last season. They also return two of their three leading scorers from last season in Peter Bunn and Will Bowser. The team is also a good balance of youth and experience with five seniors, three juniors and seven sophomores. These two games will be the toughest of the year for Albion to win. One of the games will go down to the wire with the Britons losing, and the other Hope will win by nine or 10.

Calvin College, Jan. 26 and Feb. 19         Current Record: 0-1      Preseason Rank: 2

Last Season: 19-9 (Conference: 12-2)     Record vs. Albion: 2-0

The defending MIAA champion Knights return with 4 seniors this season but lose their two top scorers from last season in John Mantel and Matt Veltema. With just one junior this season, this is a squad with a lot of youth with 5 sophomores and 5 freshmen. The Britons will win two close games agaisnt the Knights; They have a more  experienced squad all-around with more offense and a better defense.

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