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Men's Basketball Set For Season Opener At Indiana
DATE: Friday, November 12, 2010
SITE: Assembly Hall (17,472)
TIP-OFF: 6:30 p.m. ET
TELEVISION: Big Ten Network
TALENT: Tom Hamilton (Play-by-Play)
John Laskowski (Analyst)
CHANNELS: Direct TV - 610
Comcast - 742
FGCU AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play)
LIVE STATS & VIDEO: www.IUHOOSIERS.com
INDIANA RADIO: IU Radio Network
TALENT: Don Fisher (Play-by-Play)
CHANNEL: Sirius Radio Channel 91
SERIES: First Meeting
AT A GLANCE
For the third straight year, FGCU will open its season on the road against a BCS foe when it travels to Bloomington to take on Indiana at historic Assembly Hall (17,142). The Eagles opened the 2008-09 campaign at then-defending national champ Kansas and at No. 2 Michigan State last season. Friday night will mark the eighth straight season in the program's nine-year existence that the Eagles have opened up away from home. FGCU is 3-5 all-time in season openers.
TRADITION VS. FUTURE
Entering just the ninth season in program history, including the fourth in Division I, FGCU will square off against an Indiana program that has been in existence since 1900-01 (111th year) and has five national titles to its credit. FGCU joined the Atlantic Sun in 2007-08, while Indiana has been a member of the Big Ten in each of the 111 years.
After having successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot over the summer, Atlantic Sun preseason All-Conference forward ANTHONY BANKS will be available at Indiana. Banks will more than likely see limited minutes, but has made significant progress. The 2009-10 A-Sun All-Freshmen team choice suffered the same injury on the opposite foot prior to the start of his true-freshman season and it caused him to use a medical redshirt.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
Entering the 111th season in program history, Indiana is led by head coach Tom Crean who is in his third season. With a roster that features no seniors and eight underclassmen, the Hoosiers were predicted to finish eighth in the preseason Big Ten poll. IU survived a scare in its last exhibition game, coming back from a 13-point second half deficit to defeat Ferris State, 78-65, in overtime. The Hoosiers were without Big Ten All-Conference honorable mention guard Verdell Jones III who is hampered by a ankle injury and 7-foot center Guy-Marc Michel who is awaiting clearance from the NCAA. Sophomore Maurice Creek is the team's leading returning scorer at 16.4 points per contest, but is also returning from a season-ending injury that caused him to miss the final 19 games of last year. Creek averaged 15.5 points and six boards over the team's two exhibition games. Classmate Christian Watford made his way onto the Big Ten All-Freshmen team last year, after leading all league newcomers in scoring (12.0) and rebounding (6.0). Watford is primed for a breakout sophomore season, scoring 25 points in each of the exhibition contests.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
The first of three TV games this year for the Eagles, Friday night's game will appear on the Big Ten Network on channel 610 for DirecTV users and 742 for Comcast subscribers. FGCU will also appear on the Big Ten Network on Dec. 15 when it heads to Ohio State.
AGAINST THE BIG TEN
Friday night's game at Indiana will mark the fourth straight year FGCU has taken on a member of the Big Ten. The Eagles are 0-3 all-time against the Big Ten after opening last season at No. 2 Michigan State and heading to Ann Arbor to face Michigan during the 2008-09 season.
AGAINST BCS OPPONENTS
FGCU is 1-9 all-time against BCS foes after picking up a win over BIG EAST opponent DePaul last season at Alico Arena. DePaul was the first BCS men's basketball program to come to Fort Myers, while all other nine contests have been played on the road. IU is the first of four BCS foes FGCU will square off against this season. The Eagles will play host to Miami on Nov. 27 while traveling to Arkansas and Ohio State.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH Dave Balza
@ FGCU: 38-52 (9th Season)
Overall: 120-142 (9th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 16-33 (4th Season)
Vs. Indiana: First Meeting
INDIANA HEAD COACH Tom Crean
@ Indiana: 16-46 (3rd Season)
Overall: 206-142 (12th Season)
Big Ten: 5-31 (3rd Season)
Vs. FGCU: 1-0
FGCU welcomes back eight players from last year's club including its top two leading scorers in redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS (12.9 ppg) and senior REED BAKER (11.4 ppg). A combination of Banks or Baker led the Eagles in scoring 23 of 29 contests, while both reached double figures in the same game 12 times. An active body on the boards, Banks hauled in 100 offensive rebounds last season while shooting 57 percent from the floor. Baker did a majority of his damage from the perimeter, knocking down a team-best 49 three-pointers.
Not equipped with a lot of size in the paint, FGCU makes up for it by staying active on the offensive glass. Led by preseason All-Conference choice ANTHONY BANKS, the Eagles ranked third in the Atlantic Sun in 2009-10 in offensive rebounds per game (13.6). Banks led that charge, grabbing 100 offensive caroms, resulting in him ranking second in the league. Banks grabbed an offensive rebound in each of the last 28 games, including five or more nine times. Banks totaled nine offensive boards against Jacksonville (Jan. 9), starting a three-game stretch in which he grabbed 21.
FGCU seven-member incoming class earned some praise from Hoop Scoop Online over the summer, as the second-best class in the A-Sun Conference. Not included in that ranking was Ole Miss transfer KEVIN CANTINOL, who is eligible after the first semester.
Prior to FGCU, head coach DAVE BALZA spent three seasons at the helm of Division II Saint Joseph's in Indiana. Balza won 18 games in his third year in a league that included three top-10 teams in the country. As a result, Balza was selected as the 2001 GLVC Coach of the Year and the Region Coach of the Year.
With the scoring punch of Banks and Baker returning, FGCU will also turn to sophomore wing SHERWOOD BROWN for a big second season. Brown had a solid ending to his freshman season, scoring in double figures in three of the last five games. Playing just under 17 minutes per game, Brown posted averages of 4.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 2009-10.
POINT GUARD BY COMMITTEE
The point guard position will be up for grabs at the beginning of the year, as sophomore returner HUNTER MILLER and junior college transfer MARLON RIVERA will battle for the reigns. Miller started the final seven games of last season and finished second on the club with 67 assists. Rivera, an All-Mid-Florida Conference first team choice at Santa Fe CC last year, brings a physical presence to the point guard spot. The 6-foot-2 Rivera ranked in the top 20 in the nation in assists per game in each of his two seasons at Santa Fe.
YOU CAN BANK ON IT
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS was on full display in 2009-10, as the then-redshirt freshman made his way onto the A-Sun's All-Rookie team. Banks led the Eagles in five different categories and was the only player to start all 29 games. Over the 29 games, Banks led FGCU in scoring 11 times and rebounding on 14 occasions, including both in the same game four times. Banks reached double figures in 21 games with five double-doubles.
OFF AND RUNNING
With a highly-decorated incoming class, head coach DAVE BALZA will turn to several of those seven newcomers for big minutes right away. Junior college transfer TIM SNYDER figures to give the FGCU frontline a boost, while freshmen CHASE FIELER and CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL will supply solid scoring at the guard position. Fieler, a West Virginia Player of the Year candidate last season, averaged 25.3 points per game at Parkersburg South. Varidel averaged 17.6 points at Worcester Prep in Massachusetts last year and was Switzerland's leading scoring in each of the last two U-20 European Championships.
Senior shooting guard REED BAKER will look to become just the third player in Atlantic Sun history to lead the conference in free throw percentage three straight years. Baker, a transfer from Michigan, led the A-Sun in free throw percentage in each of the last two seasons. Baker is also the Eagles' primary threat from beyond the arc, as the Naples, Fla. product has 109 trifectas to his credit over two years in the Blue and Green.
CHRISTMAS WILL COME EARLY
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Banks and the rest of the FGCU bigs will get a boost on Dec. 15 at nationally-ranked Ohio State when junior transfer KEVIN CANTINOL becomes eligible. The 6-foot-9, 253-lb. Ole Miss transfer came to FGCU mid-way through last season and is required to sit out a full year due to NCAA rules.