Test run: Under NCAA rules, Division-I teams can have two closed preseason scrimmages, and the Raiders faced Ball State on the road Oct. 22 and Kent State at home last Saturday.
Both are expected to be upper-echelon MAC teams. Kent State was picked first in the preseason poll, and Ball State fourth.
“We definitely looked better this past Saturday,” Finke said. “It’s always interesting getting back into the swing of things, especially after seven or so months (since last season), and playing against other people. It felt good in the second game.
“I think we took some strides offensively. In both games, our defense was actually solid. We have some things to work on, as always, but I think we’re starting to put it together piece by piece.”
Feeding foes: One way the Raiders exasperate Nagy is with turnovers, and the main culprits, surprisingly, have been the centers.
Grant Basile was the runaway leader last year with 3.0 per game. And before him, Loudon Love showed his, uh … consistency by finishing first in four straight seasons: 2.8, 2.4, 2.4 and 2.4 per game.
Nagy doesn’t look for that trend to change.
“Right now, (sophomore center) A.J. Braun is leading us in turnovers,” Nagy said, referring to practice stats. “It’s because we throw the ball in a lot, and those guys have to make good decisions. I get frustrated and say, ‘Nobody’s centers lead them in turnovers like ours do.’ Well, we throw it in more than most people.
“A guard facing the defense and having one player (on him) can see everything. A post having his back to the basket and not seeing everything, it’s much more difficult.”
Picking up the slack: The Raiders have to replace their two leading scorers, Tanner Holden (20.1 per game) and Grant Basile (18.4), and while they’ll probably be more balanced this season, they do have some capable scorers.
Davis averaged 15.9 and 17.1 points in his two seasons with Green Bay, and Calvin averaged 14.6 last season.
“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that,” Nagy said. “I know players do. Everybody wants to score more — that’s just how it is because you get your name in the paper and get noticed. But it’s not what wins games.”
Calvin said he’s ready to be more assertive after finishing last season with a flourish. He averaged 18.2 points in three HL tourney wins and two NCAA games.
He made the all-tourney team with Basile, Holden and Northern Kentucky’s Marques Warrick and Trevon Faulkner.
“Trey sees himself as THE guy, and he’s playing that way,” Nagy said.