October 27, 2011

Ferris State Basketball Visits MSU On Sunday

Sunday, Oct. 30
Exhibition Contest
Men's Basketball at Michigan State, 2 p.m.

Live On Sunny 97.3 FM
(Rob Bentley & Sandy Gholston - Pregame at 1:30 p.m.)
Live Bulldog Sports Network Broadcast
Live Big Ten Network Video Webcast
Live GameTracker Internet Statistics
Live Facebook Scoring Updates
Live Twitter Scoring Updates
Note: The game will be replayed on the Big Ten Network Monday at 4 p.m. (ET).

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE GAME NOTES (PDF)

* The Game:
The Ferris State University men's basketball team takes on one of college basketball's most successful programs with an exhibition game against the NCAA Division I Michigan State Spartans on Sunday, Oct. 30, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.  Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. (ET).

* Ticket Info: For ticket information, please call MSU at (517) 355-1610, email tickets@msu.edu or visit www.msuspartans.com.

* Media Coverage: Sunday's game is slated to be carried live locally by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with Rob Bentley calling the play-by-play action and Sandy Gholston offering color commentary.  The live audio webcast can be found at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.com and accessible at www.bigtennetwork.com.  It will be replayed on the Big Ten Network TV channel Monday at 4 p.m. (ET).  Live stats will also be offered via MSU.

* Follow On Twitter/Facebook: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow Sunday's contest and all other FSU games this year via Twitter and Facebook. Please visit www.facebook.com/ferrisathletics or www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 13,532. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich. FSU also plays NCAA Division I men's ice hockey in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

* Last Season: The Ferris State men concluded the 2010-11 season by reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship Game last March in Louisville, Ky.  The Bulldogs also captured the GLIAC North Division Championship and hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals and Finals a year ago while finishing with a 24-8 overall record.  FSU must replace four key starters this campaig from a team that fell to eventual D2 national champion Bellarmine in the regional finals.

* Great Campaign: FSU's 24-8 overall men's hoops mark last year was the program's best since posting a 24-7 record and also reaching the regional final in 2004-05.  Overall, the 24 wins recorded by the Bulldogs was tied for the third-highest total in school history and FSU's 16 league regular-season victories was best in the conference and tied for the most GLIAC wins in Bulldog annals.

* The Records: Ferris State (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC) won 16 of its last 19 games a year ago, including 18 of its last 22 overall en route to a 24-8 overall mark.  The Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship with a 16-3 record and served as the host for the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals & Finals.
   
Michigan State (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) registered a 19-15 overall record and placed tied for fourth in the Big Ten with a 9-9 league mark under head coach Tom Izzo last season.  

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 10th season, 144-129 (.527) – (0-0 vs. MSU).  Sall was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Calvin College from 1985-90 and previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02).  He served as FSU's interim coach for a brief portion of the 1995-96 season.
   
Michigan State – Tom Izzo, 17th season at MSU. Coach Izzo has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments, including the 2000 NCAA National Championship, six regular-season Big Ten crowns, two Big Ten Tournament titles, six Final Four appearances, four National Coach of the Year awards and a Big Ten-best 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

* First Of Big Three: In addition to the exhbitition matchup against the Spartans, the Bulldogs' first two regular-season games will be road contests at Division I members Michigan and Central Michigan.  Ferris State will visit Crisler Arena to square off with the Michigan Wolverines in the first official regular-season contest on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. (ET) in Ann Arbor.  The following night, on Saturday, Nov. 12, the Bulldogs travel to nearby Mt. Pleasant to battle the Chippewas inside McGuirk Arena also at 7 p.m. (ET).

* Two More Exhibitions: Besides Sunday's game at Michigan State, FSU will also play men's exhibition contests this year at home next Wednesday against Grace Bible (Nov. 2) and on the road at Calvin (Nov. 8) in Grand Rapids.

* Bulldog Quick Fact: Ferris State welcomes back eight letterwinners this season from last year's NCAA Tournament squad. Included in the total is a returning starter in senior point guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing). The roster also includes eight freshmen who are new to the program.

* Key Game Fact: A year ago, the Bulldogs nearly upset a Big Ten conference school as they battled the Indiana Hoosiers to overtime in a 78-65 exhibition setback (11/8/10) at historic Assembly Hall in Bloomington (Ind.) when a potential game-winning field goal at the regulation buzzer by the Bulldogs was waved off after a controversial replay review.

* The Bulldog Roster: Ferris' 2011-12 roster includes four seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and eight freshmen. Eight of the 16 players are primarily guards while the remaining eight are frontcourt players. Fifteen of the 16 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan with the one exception being freshman guard Drew Lehman (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic).

* Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, 10th-year FSU head coach Bill Sall previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02) prior to being named Ferris State's 11th head coach.  Before joining the coaching ranks, Sall was a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90. He twice (1989-90) received second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-America honors and led Calvin to three Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) championships, four NCAA-III Tournament bids and the 1990 NCAA-III Final Four.

* Pertinent Fact: The Bulldogs' 24 victories last year were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.

* Outstanding Success: Ferris' 24 victories last year tied for the program's most in the last 22 seasons along with 2004-05 when the Bulldogs reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen and recorded a 24-7 mark.  Overall, the 24 wins tied for the program's third-most in more than 80 seasons of basketball action dating back to the 1920's.

* Going Back In Time: Last year marked the first time the Bulldogs had reached the NCAA-II Tournament, made the GLIAC Tournament Championship Game and achieved 20 wins or more all in the same season since the 1997-98 campaign.

* Back To The Dance: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall was an assistant coach under former head coach Edgar Wilson when the Bulldogs won the GLIAC Tournament for the only time in school history to reach the NCAA-II Tourney in 1997-98.  Therefore, he's been involved in the last four of FSU's nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

* A Great Run: Ferris won back-to-back GLIAC North Division crowns under Bill Sall in 2003-04 and 2004-05 while also reaching the NCAA-II Tournament in both 2004-05 and 2005-06.  FSU also previously advanced to the NCAA-II "Sweet Sixteen" during the 2004-05 season, which was Sall's third season at the helm.

* Tremendous Turnaround: The Bulldogs had posted only a 21-82 (.204) mark in the four seasons prior to head coach Bill Sall's arrival, but have since went 141-120 (.540) and claimed three divisional titles while making three NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his nine previous seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

* Returning Starter: Senior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) has 366 career assists to date and enters his senior campaign listed sixth on FSU's all-time assists leaders list.  The two-year starter needs 79 assists to catch Tim Herman (445; 1975-79) and move into fifth place on the Bulldogs' all-time chart. He was an All-GLIAC Defensive Team honoree last season and ranks ninth in FSU history with 129 career steals.

* All-Tourney Team: Junior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) came alive for the Bulldogs in last year's NCAA Tournament and was recognized as an All-Tournament Team selection after helping the Bulldogs to the regional title game.  Brown came off the bench to average a team second-best 19.3 points per game in three NCAA contests, including a game-high 27 points in a regional-opening win over Wayne State and 22 versus Drury (Mo.) in the semifinals.

* Key Returnee: Junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) has been a valuable contributor over each of the last two seasons for the Bulldogs.  The 6-5 Sutherlin has played in 56 games and made 11 starts in his FSU career.  He averaged 19.9 minutes per contest a year ago.

* Welcome Back: Senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) was expected to be a key contributor for the Bulldogs last year and was until suffering a season-ending knee injury only seven games into the season on a breakaway dunk.  Sanders hit what appeared to be a game-winning jumper as time expired in last year's exhibition game against the Indiana Hoosiers, but the basket was waved off after a controversial replay review by the game officials.  He started four games for the Bulldogs last campaign prior to his injury.

* GLIAC Coach Of The Year: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall earned the GLIAC's Coach of the Year honor after directing the Bulldogs to their first GLIAC North Division Championship in six years with a 16-3 league regular season mark last season.  FSU's 24 wins overall last campaign were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark under Sall's leadership in 2004-05.  The 10th-year head coach also guided Ferris State to its sixth GLIAC Tournament berth in the last seven years and a second-straight final four appearance while cracking the national rankings for the first time in more than four years.  Additionally, Sall's squad earned the league's top overall seed and the right to host the GLIAC Semifinals/Finals for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

* Change Of Fortune: Ferris suffered five-straight losing seasons from 1998-99 to 2002-03, but has since captured three GLIAC North Division titles, made seven GLIAC Tournament appearances, advanced to three NCAA-II Tournaments and claimed two conference tournament runner-up finishes over the last eight seasons.

* FSU History: Ferris State's impressive basketball tradition includes 12 GLIAC titles, nine NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and a berth in the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris, which last won the GLIAC Tournament championship during the 1997-98 campaign, captured a then league record four consecutive conference titles from 1986-90.

* Assistant Coach: The Bulldogs welcome back second-year full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, who had served as a volunteer assistant for three years before replacing longtime assistant coach Cory Anderson prior to the 2010-11 campaign. Bronkema was a collegiate standout at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. As a player, he served as team captain in both his junior and senior seasons. Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels.

* The Coaching Staff: In addition to full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, Bill Sall also has three familiar faces serving as assistants in Bill Killian, Jim Lake and Ed Douma. A FSU professor, Killian has been involved with the program throughout Sall's tenure and his association with Ferris basketball dates back to the late 1980's. Meanwhile, Douma served as Sall's collegiate head coach at Calvin during his playing career and previously spent 32 seasons as a head coach at several schools while winning more than 550 games.  He joined the Bulldogs in 2009-10 after spending the final 11 years of his head coaching career at fellow GLIAC member Hillsdale.  Lake returns to the Bulldog staff this season after coaching AAU basketball for the Grand Rapids Storm and serving as a prep head coach at Chippewa Hills High School.  He was part of the Bulldog staff during FSU's back-to-back GLIAC title run in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

* Keep Winning: FSU's 24 victories last year represented the fifth time in head coach Bill Sall's nine years the Bulldogs had won at least 14 games in a campaign. It also marked the ninth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under Sall.  Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had won 10 games or more only twice in the seven previous seasons.

* Veteran On Staff: Longtime college basketball coach Ed Douma joined the Bulldog staff for the 2009-10 season and embarks on his third season with the Bulldogs this year.  Douma most recently served as head coach at GLIAC-member Hillsdale until 2007.  His experience includes 33 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, including at his alma mater, Calvin College (NCAA-III), where he guided the Knights to the NCAA-III National Championship in 1991-92. He has also served as head coach at Alma College (NCAA-III), fellow GLIAC member Lake Superior State (NAIA), Kent State (NCAA-I) and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (NCAA-III). Douma owned a career mark of 561-295 and also won two MHSAA Class C State Championships at Shelby High School.  FSU head caoch Bill Sall played for Douma at Calvin and also served as one of his assistant coaches at both Calvin and Hillsdale.

* A New Season: Ferris visits Michigan for its season opener on Friday, Nov. 11, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.  Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (ET) and will be the first of back-to-back games on consecutive nights against Division I competition for FSU.  The Bulldogs' regular-season home opener is set for Tuesday, Nov. 22, when Olivet visits Jim Wink Arena for a 7 p.m. (ET) tipoff in Big Rapids.

* Tough To Replace: Ferris State must replace four key players from last year's squad, including the 2010-11 Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in Justin Keenan.  He wrapped up his career as the GLIAC's all-time career scoring leader was a two-time GLIAC Player of the Year Award honoree along with twice earning All-America accolades.

* Postseason Home Game: FSU's GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal matchup against Saginaw Valley State last season (3/2/11) represented the Bulldogs' first postseason home game in five years as Ferris had not played at home after the regular-season since recording a 73-68 quarterfinal-round win over Northern Michigan five years ago (2/28/06).

* Record Crowd For Finale: Ferris State established a new Jim Wink Arena record crowd with 2,443 fans for its exciting 82-80 overtime home setback to rival Grand Valley State in the regular-season finale last season (Feb. 26). It topped the previous mark of 2,430 fans who attended the Bulldogs' matchup with GVSU three years ago (2/23/08).  Four of the five largest crowds in the building's 12-year history have came during the rivalry matchup.

* FSU Wins "131 Showdown": Ferris State defeated rival Grand Valley State 79-72 in overtime during last year's "131 Showdown" played on Jan. 29 at Van Andel Arena before 5,863 fans in Grand Rapids. FSU guard Dontae Molden registered the putback on the game-tying basket as regulation expired to force the extra session between the two West Michigan rivals.  The crowd is believed to be one of the largest to ever watch a GLIAC contest.

* Keenan Owns GLIAC Mark: Departed Bulldog standout Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) officially became the GLIAC's all-time career scoring leader (based on league games) with a made free throw at the 14:54 mark of the first half against Grand Valley State in last year's regular-season finale (Feb. 26). The 6-7 All-American, who had 18 points against the Lakers, previously had tallied a game-high 19 points in FSU's 84-66 upset over then third-ranked Findlay (Feb. 19) to tie former Grand Valley State standout John Flynn atop the league's all-time scoring chart. Keenan wrapped up league regular-season play with an all-time best of 1,549 career points in conference games.

* 1000 Wins Celebration: Ferris held a special "1,000 Wins Celebration" in conjunction with its regular-season finale against Grand Valley State last season (Feb. 26) and more than 40 former players were on hand to help the Bulldogs commemorate the impressive achievement.  The program's 1,000th victory came in a 70-68 league home win over Saginaw Valley State on Feb. 5.  

* Double-Figure Mark: The Bulldogs' Justin Keenan concluded his career as a three-time team MVP and reached double-figure scoring in 109 of 116 career outingst. He tallied 10 points or more in 87 of his last 91 games.  Keenan was the first-ever All-America pick at the Division II level in Ferris State men's basketball history and the first Bulldog player in 36 years to claim All-America accolades in 2009-10 and 2010-11.  He joined only four previous players to achieve the distinction in Ferris men's hoops history.  He was also the first FSU player in 20 years to be named GLIAC Player of the Year in 2009-10 before winning the honor for the second-straight time a year ago.

* Bulldog Notes: Ferris State has posted 40 winning campaigns and 46 non-losing seasons in its more than 80 seasons of competition.

* Successful Season: Last year's divisional title was FSU's third under head coach Bill Sall and the program's first since winning back-to-back GLIAC North crowns in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  The Bulldogs' 24 victories were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league regular-season wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.  FSU also won its first 12 games at home last season inside Jim Wink Arena.

* FSU Takes On Division 1: FSU's regular-season visit to Eastern Michigan last season (Jan. 4) marked the second consecutive year the Bulldogs had faced a Mid-American Conference (MAC) team in regular-season competition following a 82-69 loss at Central Michigan the previous year (11/16/09).  FSU also suffered a 78-65 overtime exhibition loss at Big Ten member Indiaan last season (11/8/10) after falling 88-73 in exhibition play the previous year (2009-10) at then nationally-ranked NCAA-I member Dayton.

* Last Year vs. Division 1: The Bulldogs faced two Division I schools last season as FSU fell to Indiana by a 78-65 score in overtime at Assembly Hall (11/8/10) and also dropped a 76-60 regular-season decision at Eastern Michigan (1/4/11).

* Near Upset At Indiana: FSU gave it everything it had, but came out on the short end of a 78-65 overtime decision against the Indiana Hoosiers in men's basketball exhibition play last season (11/8/10) at Assembly Hall. FSU led by as many as 13 points in the game with 7:30 left and the lead remained at 10 points with three minutes to go in the contest before the Hoosiers rallied before a crowd of 14,298 frenzied fans. Ferris held a slim four-point edge until Indiana tied up the contest with 11 seconds to play when freshman Victor Oladipo was fouled while connecting on a three-point shot.  After game officials reviewed the play to determine it was a trey, Oladipo made the free throw to tie the game at 61 points apiece. The Bulldogs played for the final possession and Oladipo blocked a FSU layup, giving Ferris the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 1.4 seconds left.  A potential game-winning jumper from Ferris State forward Jerrell Sanders went in as time expired in regulation and the Bulldog players stormed the floor, but was later waved off after another replay review by the game officials. Indiana then proceeded to score the first 12 points of overtime to pull out the come from behind victory. .

* Important Notes: The announced crowd of 14,298 fans at Assembly Hall who watched FSU's near victory over Indiana last preseason topped the nearly 12,000 fans who watched FSU play an exhibition game in 2009-10 at Dayton and figures to be one of the largest crowds a Bulldog team has ever played in front of in school history ....... FSU had won five of its last six exhibition tilts prior to last year's setback at Indiana, but has not defeated an NCAA Division I school since a regular-season road win at Oakland in 2000-01 (11/21) ...... The Bulldogs' bench outscored the Hoosier reserves by a 31-12 count in last year's exhibition contest, which featured six league changes ..... Current Bulldog Kenny Brown had 18 points at Indiana a year ago while Jerrell Sanders provided a big contribution at both ends of the floor with nine points, a game-high 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals

* FSU at CMU - 2009-10: FSU dropped a 82-69 regular-season decision at Mid-American Conference (MAC) member Central Michigan two years ago (11/16/09) at CMU's Rose Center in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Ferris built a nine-point first half lead before the Chippewas battled back. Former Bulldog Darien Gay kept the Bulldogs in the contest for much of the night as he tallied a game-high 26 points and hit eight-of-nine three-point tries in the outing. The Bulldogs also received 15 points from Justin Keenan, who was doubled and tripled most of the game by the bigger Chippewa lineup.

* FSU at Dayton - 2009-10: Ferris State battled the preseason nationally-ranked Dayton Flyers tough for most of the night, but came out on the short end of a 88-73 exhibition decision in its second preseason outing of the 2009-10 campaign (11/3/09) at the historic University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. An announced crowd of 11,169 fans watched the Flyers take a 48-35 halftime edge. The Bulldogs whittled the lead down to 10 points with 4:38 to play, but could get no closer. Dayton entered the game ranked 21st in the Division I Associated Press Preseason Poll.

* FSU at Michigan - 2007-08: Prior to last year's game at Indiana, Ferris last squared off against a Big Ten school when the Bulldogs visited the Michigan Wolverines in a historic first-ever meeting between the two teams for an exhibition contest four years ago (11/1/07).  FSU dropped a 78-40 decision at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines jumped out to a 37-18 halftime advantage en route to the win. UM limited FSU to a 26.3% shooting effort from the floor and converted 10-of-28 (35.7%) three-point tries in the striumph. A crowd of 7,489 watched the first-ever matchup between the two schools in FSU's 80-plus year history of men's basketball. The contest also marked the debut for then first-year Michigan head coach John Beilein.

* More Notes Against Division 1: FSU has played several other Division I foes under head coach Bill Sall .......... In 2006-07, the Bulldogs dropped a pair of exhibition games to NCAA Division I schools. FSU fell at Toledo (Ohio) in its exhibition opener 97-71 before dropping a 68-53 decision at the University of Detroit Mercy ......... The Bulldogs narrowly suffered a 67-55 non-conference regular season decision in 2005-06 versus Toledo in UT's Savage Hall at Toledo, Ohio ......... In 2003-04, the Bulldogs dropped a 73-58 decision to Central Michigan in CMU's Rose Arena at Mt. Pleasant, Mich. That contest was played as a regular-season game for Ferris and an exhibition outing for CMU per NCAA regulations involving the season's official starting date ....... Ferris' last win over a NCAA Division I school came in 2000-01 (11/21) when the Bulldogs defeated Oakland by a score of 75-70 in regular- season action at Rochester, Mich.

* Tom Crean Comment: Indiana head coach Tom Crean had this to say about the Bulldogs after last year's exhibition contest at Assembly Hall - "That team right there (Ferris), that team's good enough to win a lot of games. They were so much better tonight than from what we saw on tape. I was nervous when we took this game because I know what kind of program they have. I grew up 45-50 minutes away from the school and my nervousness was justified," said the Mount Pleasant (Mich.) native, who formerly served as an assistant under Tom Izzo.

* Sports Center Highlight: Ferris State forward Jerrell Sanders was featured on ESPN's Top 10 Plays during Sportscenter episodes on Dec. 1 of last seaosn after a dunk he had at nationally-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan (Nov. 27).  Sanders' dunk from the free throw line aired for most of the day.  He was injured and lost for the season only two minutes into a game the following week at home versus Ohio Dominican (Dec. 4) when he landed wrong on a breakaway dunk at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

* Home Court Edge: Ferris State owned a 14-2 mark at home last year and has won 16 of its last 19 games at Wink Arena dating back to the 2009-10 campaign heading into this season.

* Prep Teammates: Current Bulldog players Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) and Brandyn Mungo (Westland/Renaissance) were prep teammates at Detroit Renaissance.  Mungo played his initial season of collegiate basketball at Division II member Clarion (Pa.) prior to joining the Bulldogs a year ago.

* Toledo Connection: Freshman guard Drew Lehman (Toledo/Central Catholic) is the Bulldogs' first player from Toledo since former standout point guard Dennis Springs, who led FSU to back-to-back GLIAC titles and NCAA Tournament berths during his Ferris State career from 2002-06.  He was part of head coach Bill Sall's first recruiting class at Ferris State.

* Large Freshman Class: The Bulldogs have eight freshmen on their roster this campaign.  Ferris State had one of the nation's youngest teams and largest rookie classes in 2007-08 with nine freshmen.  Four of those freshmen became four-year letterwinners and led FSU to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen last season Justin Keenan, Darien Gay, Matt DeHart and Lou Williams.

* Top-Ranked Recruiting Class: Michigan prep basketball guru Stephen Bell ranked Ferris State's group of eight incoming freshmen as the best recruiting class in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following the signing period last spring.

* Alumni Receptions: The Ferris State University Alumni Association is also planning a special reception for both of the matchups at Michigan State and Michigan.  A pregame reception will be held at the Kellogg Center prior to the game against the Spartans and will take place at the Pizza House in Ann Arbor before the contest versus Michigan.  Both are only $20 per person, which includes a game ticket.  Visit www.ferrisalumni.org for more information.

* Going To Pro Ball: Former Bulldog standouts Justin Keenan and Darien Gay have moved on to professional basketball after leading FSU to the NCAA Tournament last season.  Keenan is currently playing this season in Uruguay while Gay is embarking on his professional career in Germany.

* Nice Way To Meet: The exhibition game at MSU was scheduled after a chance meeting at a golf outing this summer between Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis and current Bulldog junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) at the Tullymore Golf Club in Stanwood where Sutherlin worked this past summer.  The Spartans were looking for an opponent and Sutherlin's encouragement helped set up the contest.

* Interesting Note: Last year represented the ninth consecutive year the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under head coach Bill Sall after the program had not done so in the four years prior to his arrival.

* Against The Big Boys: FSU last faced one of the state's two largest Division I schools in Michigan or Michigan State nearly four years ago (11/1/07) as the Bulldogs dropped a 78-40 decision to Michigan at Crisler Arena.  That contest marked the debut for former Ferris State forward/center Justin Keenan, who wrapped up his Bulldog career as the Divisiion II Bulletin National Player of the Year last season and is one of four starters the Bulldogs must replace this campaign.

* Taking On The MAC: This year's meeting with CMU marks the third consecutive season the Bulldogs will play a MAC team in regular-season competition.  The Bulldogs fell to Central Michigan on the road 82-69 two years ago (11/16/09) and suffered a 74-60 defeat a year ago (1/4/11) at Eastern Michigan.

* Replacements Needed: Besides having to replace the 2010-11 NCAA Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in center Justin Keenan, the Bulldogs also have to replace starting forwards Matt DeHart and Lou Williams along with guard Darien Gay.  Williams wrapped up his career holding virtually every school blocked shots record while DeHart ranks among the program's top three-point shooters of all-time.  Gay was a two-time All-GLIAC honoree.

* Hall of Fame Ties: Ferris State recently inducted its 2011 Hall of Fame Class in late September (9/30) and one of this year's honorees was former Bulldog basketball standout Gerald Busby.  The Lansing resident originally began his collegiate career at Michigan State before transferring to Ferris where he led the Bulldogs to a GLIAC title and NCAA berth as a senior in 1982-83.

* Big Shoes To Fill: Ferris State enters the 2011-12 campaign having to replace four starters from a year ago.  Additionally, the Bulldogs lost 69% (1,697 points) of their scoring and 62% (716 rebounds) of their rebounds from last campaign.

* Strong Ending: Bulldog junior Daniel Sutherlin finished the 2010-11 campaign on a positive note as he scored in double-figures five of the final eight games after doing so only once in the initial 24 games of the season.  He had 12 points in four games of the stretch, including 12 in a NCAA semifinal win over Drury in Louisville, Ky.

* New Uniforms: The Bulldogs will sport new Nike uniforms this year and unveil their crimson-colored road jerseys for the first time at Michigan State.  The new uniforms reflect the university's approved color scheme utilizing "Ferris Red" and gold colors.  FSU will wear its new white outfits for all home games at Jim Wink Arena.

* Exhibition Streak: Ferris has presently won five of its last seven exhibition tilts to date.  FSU topped Aquinas on the road in Grand Rapids last year before falling at Indiana. The Bulldogs beat West Michigan foes Cornerstone and Calvin in home exhibition games at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in 2008-09 and then posted a 2-1 mark in 2009-10 with a neutral site win over Aquinas and a road victory at Calvin to go with a setback at Dayton.

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