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MAC Basketball Season Preview: Northern Illinois Huskies

An extensive if not comprehensive look at all 12 Mid-American Conference college basketball teams. The opening game is November 10, so we better get started.

Last year: 10-20 (6-10), 5th MAC West; lost to Eastern Michigan in MAC tournament first round; no postseason tournament

This year: Picked 5th in MAC West (2 of 24 first-place votes)

Coach: Ricardo Patton enters his fourth season at NIU. His record: 26-61.

First Game: Friday, November 12 vs. Northwestern

Can a husky dribble a basketball? It can barely play fetch with a basketball. Mostly because your dog is out of control. But you should see the way our dog dribbles its squeak toy rubber ball. It's precious!

Northern Illinois Huskies Basketball Roster

# Pos. DOB W H College
Askel Bolin 32 G - 200 6-7 freshman
Antone Christian 3 G - 189 6-2 freshman
Lee Fisher 30 F - 212 6-5 junior
Bryan Hall 1 G - 168 6-1 junior
Kyree Jones 55 G - 205 6-2 freshman
Jeremy Landers 24 G - 185 6-2 senior
Cameron Madlock 23 F - 215 6-9 junior
Tony Nixon 25 G - 200 6-4 sophomore
Michael Patton 4 G - 189 5-10 senior
Nate Rucker 12 F - 245 6-6 freshman
Xavier Silas 13 G - 198 6-5 senior
Tyler Storm 44 F - 217 6-7 junior
Tim Toler 5 F - 270 6-7 junior


Darion Anderson (transferred to Iowa State)
Sean Kowal (transferred to somewhere that has a theology program)
Mike DiNunno (transferred to Eastern Kentucky)
Michael Fakuade (transferred to Illinois Springfield, Division II)
Najul Ervin (graduated)
Ante Dzepina (graduated)
Keith Smith (transferred to Illinois-Springfield, Division II)

Returning Award-Winners

Xavier Silas (All-MAC Honorable Mention)

Big Nonconference Games

12/12 vs. Northwestern
12/18 @ Temple
12/27 @ Missouri
1/3 @ Iowa State

A Paragraph of Thought on Northern Illinois Basketball

'10 Northern Illinois is '09 Western Michigan. This might be unfair to one of those entities, but basically Silas is the known commodity and their horse by which they will try to ride certain individual games. This will not necessarily result in a fruitful number of conference wins — five? — but with an inordinate number of upperclassmen, perhaps I'm being too hard on them. Maybe they're the team nobody is looking at seriously, given all the key departures, that is going to shimmy their way up the MAC East power-struggle. But with the way their football team is playing — and mind you, schools are allowed only one charmed sport per year — it's probably not the year to get behind NIU hoops.