Manchester University faces its final preseason tune-up Friday, Nov. 14, with a game against NCAA Division I Summit League preseason favorite Indiana University – Purdue University – Fort Wayne.
Game specifics: Tipoff is 7 p.m. inside the Gates Center on IPFW's campus … Live audio, statistics and video are accessible via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: Head coach Brad Nadborne and his staff are hoping for big things from the Spartans with the program celebrating its 100th year. "We feel the Canadian tour has given us a little bit of a head start," he said. "We've been able to not only work on a press break or offensive sets but also run them in games. The staff likes what we're seeing from the guys. There is a definite buying in from the players about what we want to accomplish this season." MU looks to return to the form it had in 2010-11 when it won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships and made a strong run in the NCAA Division III tournament. "The key, for me, towards feeling the way we do right now is because of how together the team is," Nadborne noted. "You can't discount how important an opportunity (like the Canadian tour) is. It created some important team bonding moments on and off the floor." … Despite an eighth-place selection on the HCAC coaches' poll, the Spartans have plenty to be optimistic about. Five of the top six scorers, five of the top seven rebounders, and the second-place finishers from last season in steals and assists along with the team leader in blocked shots are back. The guard quartet of senior Caleb Jackson (New Castle, Ind.), junior Brad Dolezal (Tipton, Ind.) and sophomores Blake Brouwer (Elkhart, Ind.) and Chase Casteel (Monrovia, Ind.) and the junior forward duo of Matt Brown (Hobart, Ind.) and Jarod Schrock (Logansport, Ind.) are at the forefront of the returners, according to Nadborne. "Each of these players offers something unique," Nadborne said. "Brady is very special. He can play the guard position but also drive inside for lay-ups and be a strong rebounder to go with scoring abilities that showcased themselves last year when he went for 30 points (at Bluffton). Caleb has done a great job of doing what's been asked of him in several roles during his career. I like his versatility, and he's proving to be a strong leader. Matt and Jarod provide us a nice captains' tandem in the paint but they're also not afraid to go outside and shoot the jumper if needed. I think we'll see some good things from both of them. Blake and Chase got an idea of what's expected from them and ran with it last year as freshmen by stepping into some needed rebounding and scoring roles at key times. We feel like we'll see more of that this season." … "Beyond the returners' group, the two first-year faces we see as contributing early are freshman guard Brody Kirby (Frankfort, Ind.) and junior transfer Brock Armstrong (Logansport, Ind.)," Nadborne added. "Brody gives us a lot of options at the point with his speed and ability to dish the ball, drive it to the basket or step back and hit a jumper. Brock adds to the versatility we have inside with Matt and Jarod." … MU's had a busy preseason which began with a five-game tour of Canada in mid-October. The Black and Gold took on Redeemer University, Mohawk College, Durham College, George Brown College and Fanshawe College during their stay in Toronto … Nadborne's squad picked up 32 points on the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches' poll. They were just 11 points behind Franklin College, in sixth, and eight back of Bluffton University of Ohio for seventh. Hanover College edged Mt. St. Joseph University of Ohio 93-86 for the favorites' nod. Brouwer, Dolezal and Schrock represented the Black and Gold in the Players to Watch section.
Season Opener: A non-conference clash at Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association member Olivet College officially begins the centennial year of Spartan basketball Wednesday, Nov. 19.