Huskies Welcome Loyola to DeKalb on Saturday

GO HUSKIES Travon Baker leads the nation in steals among freshmen
GO HUSKIES
Travon Baker leads the nation in steals among freshmen
GO HUSKIES

Nov. 23, 2012

Game Notes in PDF Get Acrobat Reader

Northern Illinois Huskies (1-2, 0-0 MAC) vs. Loyola Chicago Ramblers (3-2, 0-0 Horizon)
Date / Time: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 / 3 p.m. CT
Site: NIU Convocation Center • DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WRMN 1410-AM in Elgin, Ill. • Huskie All-Access
Live Video: Huskie All-Access
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Tied, 16-16
Last meeting: Dec. 20, 2008 • Loyola 72-62

A LOOK AT THE 2012-13 SEASON
Akeem Springs scored 16 points last time out against Judson and currently leads NIU averaging 11.0 points per game.
Aksel Bolin has scored in double figures in two of NIU’s three games and is averaging 9.7 points per contest. Bolin also leads the team in rebounding at 5.7 per game.
Travon Baker leads the Huskies in both assists (9) and steals (11).
• Freshmen have played 64.5 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 19.2 percent of the minutes.
• Northern Illinois returns its top-five scoring letterwinners and top-six rebounders from a season ago.
• 10 of the 15 players making up the Huskie roster this season are underclassmen.
• Of the five upperclassmen on NIU’s roster, one will sit out this season following a transfer (Pete Rakosevic) and another had never played a Division I game until this season (Brandon Hayes).
• NIU made its first appearance in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, playing Valparaiso at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The Huskies were one of two MAC schools, along with Kent State, that will appear in the marathon.
• The Huskies will play 10 teams that appeared in postseason play a season ago: Valpo (Horizon League regular season champs, NIT), Dayton (NIT), Milwaukee (CBI), Washington (Pac-12 regular season champs, NIT Final Four), UMass (NIT Final Four), Akron (MAC regular season champs, NIT), Bowling Green (CIT), Buffalo (CIT), Kent State (CIT) and Ohio (NCAA Sweet 16).

THE EXPERIENCE TRACKER
• Developed by StatSheet.com, “The Experience Tracker” looks that the experience per minute played by every team in the country.
• Each team’s number is generated by taking the sum of minutes each player plays, multiplied by their class (1-freshmen, 2-sophomores, 3-juniors, 4-seniors) divided by the total of team minutes.
• Northern Illinois is currently the third-least experienced team in the country (1.52), behind only Arkansas-Little Rock (1.26) and Texas (1.40).
• See page five for a complete chart of the nation’s least experienced teams.

THE NATION’S FRESHMEN STEALS LEADER
• NIU’s Travon Baker is currently leading the nation in steals by a freshman with 3.67 steals per game.
• Baker leads Coppin State’s Patrick Cole (3.50) and Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel (3.25) among the top freshmen in the country in steals.
• Baker is tied for seventh overall in the nation with Ball State’s Chris Bond.
• Baker and Bond are tied for the MAC lead in steals per game.
• Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster is the national leader overall at 4.5 steals per contest.

IN THE MAC RANKINGS
• NIU leads the MAC in rebounding defense at 27.3 boards per game; the Huskies are second in rebounding margin at +9.3 boards per contest.
• The Huskies are pulling down an average of 15.0 offensive rebounds per contest, second-best in the conference.
• NIU leads the MAC in defensive rebound percentage (84.4 percent) and is second in offensive rebound percentage (39.1 percent).
• Northern Illinois is averaging 10.0 steals per game as a team, third-best in the MAC.
Aksel Bolin is tied for 14th in the MAC at 5.7 rebounds per game.
Aksel Bolin and Sam Mader are third and fourth in the conference, respectively, in field goal percentage. Bolin is shooting 57.9 percent while Mader shoots 57.1 percent.
Travon Baker is tied for first in the MAC with 3.7 steals per game; he is also tied for seventh in the league with 3.0 assists per game.
Kevin Gray is tied for fifth in the conference averaging 2.7 offensive rebounds per contest.

WHAT’S BACK FOR NIU
• With its six-man returning nucleus from a season ago, the Huskies return more than 60 percent of their production for 2011-12 in most statistical categories.
• The following are NIU’s percentages returning from last season: minutes (60.7 percent), scoring (62.6), rebounds (63.1), assists (47.0), blocks (71.2) and steals (57.1).
• By comparison, here are the numbers that returned at the beginning of last season from the 2010-11 campaign: minutes (33.8 percent), scoring (32.0), rebounds (31.8), assists (26.6), blocks (39.7) and steals (27.4).

ABOUT LOYOLA
• The Ramblers bring a 3-2 overall record to DeKalb. Loyola finished 1-2 last weekend at the USF Invitational, defeating Maryland-Eastern Shore while falling to Western Michigan and South Florida.
• Ben Averkamp leads Loyola at 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
• Saturday’s game will by Loyola’s third against a MAC foe, having beaten Toledo (62-50) and lost to Western Michigan (81-71).

ALL-TIME SERIES
• NIU and Loyola will meet for the 33rd time on Saturday, the series is currently tied, 16-16.
• The Ramblers have won the last three meetings, including a 72-62 victory in DeKalb the last time the school’s met (Dec. 20, 2008).
• Loyola has won six of the last eight meetings in the series that dates back to 1926.
• NIU’s last victory came on Nov. 27, 2002, a 69-67 triumph in DeKalb.
• The Huskies have won six of the last seven played in DeKalb.

JUDSON RECAP
• NIU recorded its first victory of the year with a 72-54 win over Judson University.
Akeem Springs and Sam Mader each had a career-high 16 points to lead the Huskies to the win.
Kevin Gray was the third Huskie in double figures with 10 points, Gray also had a team-best eight rebounds.
Aksel Bolin tied a career-high with four assists against the Eagles.
Travon Baker recorded four steals and three assists in the victory.
• The Huskies made 30 field goals in the contest, the most for NIU under Mark Montgomery.
• Judson grabbed just 19 rebounds, including just one offensive, the lowest for an opponent during Montgomery’s tenure at NIU.

VALPARAISO RECAP
• Valparaiso earned a 69-46 victory over NIU in a contest that started at 7 a.m., as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
Aksel Bolin finished with a team-high 10 points and nine rebounds, just missing out on a double-double.
• The Huskies held Valparaiso to just four offensive rebounds, the fewest for an opponent during the Mark Montgomery era.
• NIU committed just 12 personal fouls, tied for the lowest total under Coach Montgomery. As a result the Crusaders attempted just nine free throws, also a new low in the Montgomery era.  
Travon Baker recorded four assists against the Crusaders.
Sam Mader has three blocked shots against Valparaiso.
• NIU held Valparaiso to 34.8 percent shooting in the first half, but the Crusaders shot 68 percent from the field, including 72.7 percent from three, after the intermission.

OF NOTE…
• Northern Illinois did not win a game last season in which the Huskies allowed more than 69 points.
• The Huskies were 3-4 in games decided by five points or less last season.
• NIU did not play an overtime game last season. Its last overtime contest came on Feb. 26, 2011, a 75-70 victory at Toledo.
• The Huskies shot a better field goal percentage than their opponents in four of their five victories last season. NIU also had a better 3-point shooting percentage than its opponents in all five victories a year ago.
• NIU outrebounded its opponents 18 times last season, including in four of its five wins.

THE PRESEASON PICKS
• NIU was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West in the preseason conference media poll. Toledo was picked to win the MAC West, followed by Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, NIU and Central Michigan.
• The MAC East was picked to finish as follows: Ohio, Akron, Kent State, Buffalo, Bowling Green and Miami. Ohio was also picked as the favorite to win the MAC Tournament.
Abdel Nader was one of five played named to the West Division Preseason All-MAC Team. Joining Nader are Ball State’s Jesse Berry, Toledo’s Rian Pearson and Julius Brown and Western Michigan’s Nate Hutcheson.

2011-12 SEASON IN REVIEW
• NIU finished the season with a 5-26 record, 3-13 in Mid-American Conference play.
• The Huskies won their first MAC Tournament game since 2003, defeating MAC West Champion Eastern Michigan, 55-52, on the road to advance to Cleveland.
• NIU saw 55.9 percent of its minutes played by freshmen, the sixth-highest percentage in the country.
• Northern Illinois led the MAC in offensive rebounds, ranked second in rebounding defense and was third in rebounding margin.
Abdel Nader was named to the MAC All-Freshmen Team, NIU’s first All-Freshmen honoree since 2009.