Men’s basketball to start season off right

William Heidenreich

Promising underclassman sophomore Matthew Leritz (above)

The IWU men’s basketball team is currently preparing for their first game of the season, a scrimmage on the road against Division I Southern Illinois University. 

With tip-off less than a week away (Nov. 5), the team will not only be faced with a challenging first opponent, but a schedule chalked-full with the nations best Division III competition. 

IWU’s match-ups against nationally ranked opponents include games with No. 3 North Central College, No. 7 Washington University (St. Louis) and No. 17 Augustana College, all conference opponents. 

With 10 teams in the CCIW, a third of them national caliber opponents, the Titans will need to start their season on a high note. 

What we can expect is seasoned head coach Ron Rose to command a disciplined young squad centered around the leadership from the team’s upperclassmen. 

In eight of his 13 seasons as coach, Rose has lead eight teams to conference finishes of third place or higher, also making seven DIII National Tournament appearances.

This season will mark Rose’s fourteenth as head coach. With a record of 243-120, he is currently the schools third winningest coach. 

Benefiting from the guidance of game-tested players, the Titans will depend on the leadership of their upperclassmen, among them including Junior Charlie Blair and senior Alex O’Neil. Last season, the pair made appearances in all 27 games. 

Blair, a forward known for hitting his mark, had a field goal percentage .513 (77 of 150), while leading his team in rebounds with 5.7 per-game. 

O’Neil averaged 6.8 points per-game, while recording a solid .508 percentage from field goal.