After six seasons as the head coach at Texas Southern, head coach Mike Davis informed the school Tuesday that he will be stepping down in order to become the next head coach at Detroit. News of the move was first reported by Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston.
During his six seasons at the helm Davis led Texas Southern to four SWAC regular season titles, four SWAC tournament titles and four NCAA tournament appearances. Davis leaves the school, which last season reached the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season, with an overall record of 115 wins and 89 losses.
In addition to his program’s success against SWAC competition, Davis was also known for his ambitious scheduling that saw Texas Southern take on many of the nation’s top programs on an annual basis. There were two benefits to the approach: the guarantee money gained from those games helped the athletic department as a whole from a financial standpoint, and the rigorous schedule helped prepare Davis’ teams for conference play.
Detroit will be Davis’ fourth Division I head coaching job, a career that began as Bob Knight’s replacement at Indiana in 2000. In his second season at Indiana, Davis led the Hoosiers to the national title game where the team lost to Maryland. After six seasons at Indiana Davis would land at UAB, where he led the program to one NCAA tournament appearance and one Conference USA title in six years.
The Detroit program Davis takes over has fallen on hard times in recent years, with the program having recorded just one winning season since winning 20 games during the 2012-13 campaign. Davis takes over the job vacated by former Michigan assistant Bacari Alexander, who was relieved of his duties as head coach in late March after just two seasons at the helm.
UDM finished the 2017-18 season with an 8-24 record, going 4-14 in Horizon League play. Just one of the team’s top six scorers, guard Jermaine Jackson Jr., is currently still with the program. Jackson is the son of Jermaine Jackson Sr., who served as Detroit’s interim head coach following Alexander’s firing.
Pregame Shootaround: Harvard hosts Yale with first place on the line in the Ivy League
GAME OF THE DAY: Yale at Harvard, 8:00 p.m. (Ivy League Digital Network)
The Bulldogs and Crimson enter this game tied atop the Ivy League standings with matching 10-2 record, and the winner will be one win away from earning the league’s automatic bid. Harvard won the first meeting between the two, a two-point win in New Haven February 7, with two Wesley Saunders free throws with six seconds remaining being the difference. Two of the Ivy’s best players will be involved, with Saunders leading the Crimson and forward Justin Sears being Yale’s best option. Both teams are solid defensively, but Yale has to shoot better than the 31.5 percent they shot in the first meeting.
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Bowling Green at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
Seeding in next week’s MAC tournament is still up in the air in many cases, with the Falcons and Bulls looking to improve their standing with a win Friday night. Chris Jans has put together a very successful season in his first year at Bowling Green, and the Falcons have relied on their defense to make that charge. They limited Buffalo to 35.7 percent shooting in the first meeting but still lost by 12 due to their own offensive issues (4-for-20 3PT). It goes without saying that Bowling Green will need to shoot better if they’re to beat a Buffalo squad led by forward Justin Moss and guard Shannon Evans, with those two combining to average just over 30 points per game.
WHO’S ON UPSET ALERT?: Cleveland State (vs. Detroit), 9:30 p.m.
The two meetings between the Vikings and Titans were decided by a total of five points, with CSU winning the first meeting by four and a Juwan Howard Jr. three being the difference in the rematch. Howard Jr. will be the focus of Cleveland State’s defensive efforts, but Paris Bass is capable of putting points on the board as well with his 28-point outing in a loss to Oakland February 15 serving as an example. Cleveland State has three players averaging double figures, with guards Trey Lewis and Charlie Lee leading the way on the perimeter and Anton Grady patrolling the interior.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No, 14 Baylor looks to rebound from a two-point overtime loss to Texas with a win over Texas Tech in the regular season finale for both (9:00 p.m., ESPN2). This game could be tougher than one would anticipate, as the Red Raiders lost by just five in the first meeting February 17.
2. No. 8 Wichita State plays in the first game of the day at Arch Madness in St. Louis, as they take on Southern Illinois (1:00 p.m., ESPN3). The Shockers swept the season series, and they’ve won eight straight since losing at Northern Iowa January 31.
3. Speaking of the Panthers, No. 11 Northern Iowa takes on Bradley in another Arch Madness quarterfinal. The teams last played February 21, when UNI limited the Braves to 39 points in a 17-point home win.
4. No. 25 Murray State takes the court for the first time in this year’s OVC tournament, as they’ll take on Morehead State in the semifinals. Led by guard Cameron Payne, Steve Prohm’s Racers have won 24 straight games and they rolled through league play with a 16-0 record.
5. Kent State can wrap up a share of the MAC East title with a win over Akron (7:00 p.m., ESPN2), and they’ll share the title with the winner of the Bowling Green/Buffalo matchup. Akron won by nine February 10, but the Golden Flashes were playing without their leading scorer and rebounder in Jimmy Hall due to injury.
Big South (quarterfinals): Longwood vs. Charleston Southern, Radford vs. Winthrop, Gardner-Webb vs. High Point and UNC Asheville vs. Coastal Carolina.
Colonial (first round): Towson vs. Elon, College of Charleston vs. Drexel
Horizon (second round): UIC vs. Oakland, Detroit vs. Cleveland State
Missouri Valley (quarterfinals): Southern Illinois vs. No. 8 Wichita State, Evansville vs. Illinois State, Bradley vs. No. 11 Northern Iowa, Loyola (IL) vs. Indiana State
Ohio Valley (semifinals): Morehead State vs. No. 25 Murray State, Belmont vs. Eastern Kentucky
Southern (first round): Samford vs. UNCG, Furman vs. The Citadel
West Coast (first round): Pacific vs. San Francisco, Loyola Marymount vs. Santa Clara
2014-15 Season Preview: Can Green Bay take the next step, represent the Horizon League in the Tournament?
The Horizon League drew most of its attention from the college basketball general public in 2013-14 for regular-season champion Green Bay’s early exit from the league’s conference tournament. Considered by many to be the heavy favorite to make the 2014 NCAA Tournament after a 14-2 regular season mark in the conference, the Phoenix ultimately fell short in the semifinals as some analysts used the Green Bay loss — and subsequent NIT appearance — as an opportunity to blast the conference tournament method of NCAA Tournament selection.
While Green Bay was one of the better mid-major teams in the country during the regular season last year, they fell to Milwaukee at home in the tournament. But with four returning starters, the Phoenix are favored to win the league this season.
Even with the departure of senior center Alec Brown, who was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, head coach Brian Wardle still returns Horizon League Player of the Year favorite in senior point guard Keifer Sykes as well as forward Jordan Fouse,who might be the league’s best defensive player. Green Bay will miss the skill level of Brown on the interior, but they might actually have more interior depth this season as 6-foot-9 senior and double-figure scorer Greg Mays returns and Wardle recruited a few big bodies to bolster the rotation of big men that he can use.
Challenging Green Bay this season will Cleveland State, who has multiple all-league candidates, including senior point guard Charlie Lee, junior big man Anton Grady and junior guard Trey Lewis. Senior forward Marlin Mason acts as a stretch four and 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore Aaron Scales can play this season and gives the Vikings another big body on the interior.
The most intriguing team in the Horizon League this year could be Valparaiso, who returns 6-foot-10 rim protector Vashill Fernandez along with three talented sophomores — point guard Lexus Williams, forward Alec Peters and forward Jubril Adekoya — and Charlotte transfer E. Victor Nickerson. Bryce Drew’s ballclub went a surpring 9-7 in the league last season despite starting Adekoya, Peters and Williams as true freshmen.
Billy Donlon loses five of the top six scorers from a Wright State team that fell short in the conference tournament finals a season ago, but the Raiders return 5-foot-9 senior point guard Reggie Arceneaux along with 6-foot-6 sophomore J.T. Yoho and guard Crishawn Hopkins. Wright State had 10 players average double-figure minutes last season, so expect Donlon to go to his seven-man recruiting class early and often for depth.
Defending conference tournament champion Milwaukee will not represent the Horizon League again in the NCAA Tournament. This isn’t a bold prediction, but a truth, as the Panthers are ineligible for postseason for low APR scores. But three starters still return for Milwaukee, led by senior point guard Steve McWhorter and junior big man Matt Tiby and Northern Illinois transfer Akeem Springs should add some scoring punch on the wing.
Detroit has the pieces to surprise in the Horizon this season as senior wing Juwan Howard Jr., returns after a breakout junior season. If the son of the former Fab Five member can get some help from Colorado transfer Chris Jenkins or 6-foot-8 sophomore Paris Bass, the Titans could compete sooner than later. Bass, in particular, will be one to watch after sitting out last season.
Oakland now faces life in the post Travis Bader-era, as the NCAA’s all-time leader in three-pointers has graduated and moved on. The Golden Grizzlies will now have to rely on the inside-outside combination of senior big man Corey Petros and returning Horizon League Freshman of the Year Kahlil Fielder at point guard. St. John’s transfer Max Hooper, who shot 40 percent from three-point range in his final season in New York, will get a shot at replacing the prolific Bader.
PRESEASON HORIZON LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Keifer Sykes, Green Bay
One of the most dynamic point guards in the country, the 5-foot-11 senior puts up numbers all over the floor and usually rises to the occasion when Green Bay has a big game. A freak athlete with outstanding leaping ability and quickness, Sykes is a difference-maker on both ends of the floor and averaged 20.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game in his junior season. The only thing missing on the resume for the senior is a trip to the NCAA Tournament and he’s focused on leading four returning starters to the Big Dance in 2014-15.
THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-HORIZON LEAGUE TEAM:
Juwan Howard Jr., Detroit – The son of former NBA veteran and Fab Five member Juwan Howard, the 6-foot-5 senior had a breakout junior season, averaging 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and also leading the Titans in assists.
Corey Petros, Oakland – A 6-foot-10, 260-pound senior, Petros is a load to handle on the interior and averaged 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season on 57 percent field goal shooting.
Alec Peters, Valparaiso – The 6-foot-9 sophomore had a huge impact as a freshman, averaging 12.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on some impressive shooting splits for a player his size (49% FG, 77% FT, 38% 3PT).
Trey Lewis, Cleveland State – The Vikings have multiple all-league candidates but Lewis averaged 13.6 points per game as a sophomore and if the 6-foot-3 guard improves his shooting percentages, that number could climb greatly.
Brandan Kearney has been well-traveled in his college basketball career and the graduate transfer from Arizona State will end his career at Detroit, in Kearney’s home state of Michigan.
A 6-foot-5 native of Detroit, Kearney started his career at Michigan State and played for a season and a half before transferring to the Sun Devils. Kearney announced his decision to attend Detroit on his Twitter.
Kearney has never played more than 327 minutes in a season in three attempts as he looks to close out strong at Detroit. Titan head coach Ray McCallum should be familiar with Kearney’s game; Kearney was a backcourt running mate of McCallum’s son Ray Jr., — now with the Sacramento Kings — on Team Detroit on the grassroots circuit.
Last season for Arizona State, Kearney averaged 1.2 points a game in 6.5 minutes per game in only 19 games last season. Detroit struggled to a 13-19 finish last season and could use a veteran player like Kearney to log some minutes on the wing.
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
Green Bay and Wright State enter the 2013-14 season as the top two competitors in the Horizon League. The two were separated by a single point in the preseason Horizon League poll — with Green Bay coming out on top — but thanks to its experience from last season going from a predicted last place to conference tournament title game, Wright State gets the slight edge as the No. 1 team in NBCSports.com’s Horizon League preseason rankings.
Led by nine of their top 10 returning from last season’s team — plus the inclusion of Butler transfer Chrishawn Hopkins — the Raiders are deep and experienced and led by senior forward Cole Darling.
Green Bay, led by the talented duo of point guard Keifer Sykes and center Alec Brown, have arguably the deepest mid-major frontline in the country with the 7-foot-1 Brown, sophomore Jordan Fouse, junior Greg Mays and Eastern Illinois transfer Alfonzo McKinnie. All four can rebound and block shots and McKinnie is even versatile enough to play a bit on the wing.
Oakland could be in-line for a good year as the newcomer to the Horizon League. The Summit is typically more wide-open, but the Golden Grizzlies are battle-tested and led by one of college basketball’s premier shooters in senior Travis Bader. Bader averages 22 points a game and is 101 three-pointers short of J.J. Redick’s career record after knocking in 139 last season. Defense will be the big concern for Oakland, but they’ll score in bunches.
Cleveland State and Youngstown State both have pieces to compete in the fourth and fifth spots of the Horizon League. Vikings sophomores Anton Grady and Bryn Forbes as a formidable inside-outside attack while Preseason Player of the Year Kendrick Perry can do a bit of everything for Youngstown State.
UIC and Valparaiso lose a lot of experience from postseason teams while Milwaukee and Detroit are in rebuilding mode.