Men's Basketball Draws UMKC In First Game Of Springfield Bracket
|UAlbany Great Danes (2-1) vs. UMKC Kangaroos (1-1)|
THE STARTING FIVE
1. The "Little Dance"
UAlbany heads into the weekend for a two-game tournament in the Springfield bracket of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The first game will be against the summit conference's Missouri-Kansas City on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the Great Danes will face either Norfolk St. or Loyola (Md.)
2. Initial Impressions
The Great Danes will face UMKC and either Norfolk St. or Loyola (Md.) for the first time in the history of their program. UAlbany has faced a summit conference opponent once prior to facing UMKC (Oakland in 2005), a MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) opponent eight different times, and most familiar with the MAAC (Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference) opponent 87 times, having faced crosstown rival Siena 51 times.
3. Robin Becomes Batman
Senior guard Mike Black has become the go-to guy for the Great Danes, even when he was named the go-to guy in the preseason, he is showing why. As a sophomore, he was under the shadows of Tim Ambrose. As a junior, he was the secondary option to scorers Logan Aronhalt and Gerardo Suero. Now, Black has come out and averaged 19.5 points in the first three games versus top-tier opponents. Began with 17 points against the A-10's Duquesne, then 20 points at No. 4 Ohio State, and topped it off with 22 points against Washington in Seattle. His finally two points was the game-winning layup on an isolation play to defeat the defending regular season Pac-12 champs.
4. Neutral Court, Not A Problem
UAlbany went 3-1 last season on neutral territory. Of those four games, the Great Danes went 2-0 in their NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament on the neutral court versus Brown (in Syracuse, N.Y.) and versus Monmouth (in Fairfax, Va.).
5. The 3-ball Runs In The Family
Fifth-year senior guard Jacob Iati is carrying on the success his older brother and current UAlbany assistant men's basketball coach, Jon, had from behind the arc at UAlbany. Jacob, in three games this season, has tallied 10 three's in 20 games and 59 in 57 career games. Older brother Jon recorded 228 three-pointers in 129 career games as a Great Dane.