After an early playoff exit last season, the Minnesota State men’s basketball team begins its chase for a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship Nov. 3. The Mavericks have been picked to finish seventh in the NSIC preseason coaches’ poll, and have been projected to finish third in the south division behind Wayne State and Upper Iowa.
The Mavericks’ season begins with an exhibition game against Gustavus-Adolphus, an opponent they have not played a regular season game against for 34 years. The last time these two teams faced off was on Dec. 12, 1988. The game was played in the home of the Golden Gusties, where the Mavericks won a nailbiter, 75-71.
Starting off the season hot is a goal for the Mavericks, and they will look to some familiar faces to help them reach new heights. Senior center Kelby Kramer is back in his final season as a Maverick. The seven-footer has been holding down the paint for three seasons now, and will play a big role in the team’s success. Sophomore forward Brady Williams showed flashes of greatness toward the end of the year last season, including a season high 21 points against the Augustana Vikings (2/12/22) where he shot 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Malik Willingham is also a flamethrower from deep and plays a crucial part of the Maverick’s offense. Look for these three players to lead a fast-paced Mavericks team alongside head coach Matt Margenthaler in their first game and beyond. Regarding the team leaders, Margenthaler shows a lot of confidence in his leaders’ abilities.
“Kelby Kramer has done great things for us over the past few years, expect another big year from him. Malik has also played a lot of minutes for us, we know he can do some big things,” said Margenthaler. “And then Brady Williams, he’s one of the better wings in this league.”
Although their 2021 season came to an abrupt end, the Mavericks will not be the only ones playing with something to prove this year, as the Golden Gusties come into the year with a bad taste in their mouth after a disappointing loss to St. Olaf in the MIAC. This exhibition match should provide each team with an opportunity to hit the ground running for the promising seasons these two teams have ahead of them.
The Mavericks will host the Golden Gusties on Thursday, November 3 at Taylor Center. In what should be a competitive opening night matchup, the game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The Mavericks open their regular season schedule on Friday, Nov. 11, where they will take on Missouri Southern in the Central Region Challenge in Kansas City, Mo. Tip-off between the Lions and Mavericks is scheduled for 1 p.m.
“Our league is really just amazing, there’s no game you can really take off without losing by 20 or 30 points,” said Williams. “We have to be prepared for every team every week.”
Header Photo: The Minnesota State men’s basketball team takes on Gustavus Adolphus in an exhibition game on today in the Taylor Center at 7 p.m. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@mnsu.edu