The Urbana University men’s basketball team will open the season today at 4:30 p.m. at Salem (W. Va.).
UU went 4-24 overall last season in Nick Dials’ first year as head coach.
The Blue Knights lead the all-time series against Salem with a 9-1 record. UU has won six straight including a 109-88 victory in the previous meeting two years ago.
UU defeated Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in last week’s exhibition opener at the Grimes Center, 76-69 … the Blue Knights are 23-30 all-time in season openers … the last season-opening victory came two seasons ago with an 80-74 triumph over Pitt-Johnstown (at IUP) … UU’s last win in a true road opener came in the last meeting against Salem (109-88) … UU was picked to finish 12th by the MEC coaches … the Blue Knights lost 10 conference games by 10 or less points in 2017-18 … UU will look for improvement on the boards after finishing last in rebounding margin (-7.2).
Under Dials, the Blue Knights showed major improvement on defense with the best year since 2012-13 in scoring defense (81.1) and FG% defense (48.1) … UU also shot the ball well with the most made 3-pointers since 2003-04 (232) … UU is in its ninth season as an NCAA Division II program and sixth as a member of the Mountain East Conference … the Blue Knights have not produced a winning season during the D-II era … the last winning season was 2009-10 when UU finished 14-13 overall … UU returns five letterwinners led by leading scorer (16.5 ppg) Malik Jacobs (All-MEC Honorable Mention).
Salem finished 6-20 last year … head coach Adam Williams enters his third season (8-44 record) … Salem returns leading scorer and rebounder Malik Toppin (19.8 ppg/10.3 rpg) from last year’s squad.