Preview – Sooner Invitational

The Western Michigan Men's basketball team will head down to Oklahoma to participate in the Sooner Invitational. These are the first regular season games for the team that blew out its opponents in preseason action.

The Invitational takes place on November 22 and 23 with WMU's first game against Princeton at 5:45pm ET. The other teams in the tournament are Oklahoma and UC Irvine, who will meet each other at 8pm ET. On Saturday the consolation game will be at 1pm ET and the championship game will be at 3:15pm ET. Due to a time conflict with the WMU vs. CMU football game the basketball game Saturday will not be available on the Bronco Radio Network. The games are not expected to be covered by television.

Here is a look at the teams participating:

Western Michigan:

The Broncos are led by senior point guard and All-MAC preseason selection Robby Collum as well as Juniors Anthony Kann, Reggie Berry, and Senior Terrance Slater. Newcomers that should contribute include junior transfers Mike Williams and Bobby Madison and freshman Brian Snider. The Broncos also return MAC freshman of the year Ben Reed who recently recovered from ACL surgery that ended his freshman season a month early.

WMU has not yet played a regular season game, but have dominated play in both of their preseason match-ups. The NBC Thunder visited Kalamazoo on Wednesday November 13 and was torched by a score of 109-76. The Broncos followed that win with another blowout over GT Express on Sunday November 17.

Oklahoma:

The Sooners, who are hosting the tournament, have also played 2 exhibition games, but they have also played a regular season game against Alabama. In exhibition action Oklahoma beat Global Sports by a margin of 76-61, and crushed Athletes First 100-61. The regular season game was at Madison Square Garden versus Alabama on November 14. Alabama won the contest 68-62 which dropped OU from #3 to #7 in the AP poll.

This final four team from last season has a strong backcourt with seniors Ebi Eri, Quannas White, Jason Detrick, and starting point guard Hollis Price. The team's frontcourt consists of senior Jozsef Szendrei, and sophomore forwards Johnnie Gilbert and Michael Liggett. Freshman that are expected to contribute are Kevin Bookout and De'Angelo Alexander.

UC Irvine:

The Anteaters of the University of California at Irvine split its two exhibition games this past week. Cal State Bakersfield beat UC Irvine on November 9 63-56, while the Anteaters shot only 33% from the field and only sank 3 of their 22 3-point attempts. On November 15 UC Irvine had a 77-67 win over Team Ezybonds (Australia) and were led in scoring by junior forward Stanislav Zuzak with 21 points. Jordan Harris added 14 points and 10 rebounds in the winning effort.

UC Irvine was picked to finish third in the Big West conference behind Utah St. and UC Santa Barbara in both the coaches and media polls. Junior center Adam Parada was picked to be a part of the preseason All-Big West team this fall. Last season the Anteaters won the Big West regular season title with a 13-5 conference record and a 21-11 overall record. This was the first time UC Irvine had recorded back-to-back 20 win seasons. Their season ended at the hands of BYU in the first round of the NIT tournament.

Princeton:

The Tigers, who are picked to finish third in the Ivy League, are led this season by junior forwards Konrad Wysocki and Andre Logan who were each in the top 4 scoring on last year's team. Logan is returning to the team after a season ending ACL injury. Senior guard Kyle Wente is the team's top returning rebounder and assist man averaging 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists per game. Last season the Tigers finished tied with Yale and Pennsylvania for the league title.

Princeton made a trip to Spain late this summer to play 7 exhibition games and returned home with a 6-1 record for the trip. John Thompson, a Princeton alumnus, is in his second year as head coach of the Tigers. In his first season Thompson guided Princeton to the NCAA tournament after sharing the Ivy League title. Before replacing Bill Carmody as head coach Thompson spent five years as assistant coach with a record of 114-31 and helped the team to five straight post-season appearances. Although the Tigers lost 5 potential starters to graduation, Princeton is expected to continue to be very competitive on the national seen this season.

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