GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's basketball team will lift the lid on its 2012-13 season on Saturday afternoon at the Resch Center, hosting Chicago State for a 1 p.m. tipoff. Led by Preseason All-Horizon League players Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) and Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), the Phoenix opens the season at home for the third time in as many seasons under head coach Brian Wardle.
Green Bay posted an impressive 12-2 mark at the Resch Center in 2011-12 and has won three-straight games on its home floor. The Phoenix had one tune-up for Saturday's contest, an 83-63 win over St. Norbert in exhibition action on Oct. 31.
Tickets for Saturday's contest can be purchased at the Resch Center Box Office, by calling the Green Bay Athletics Ticket Office at 920.465.2625 or by visiting GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Saturday will be the 24th meeting between Green Bay and Chicago State, with the Phoenix holding a 17-6 edge in the series. Green Bay's success includes victories in the past 12 meetings between the two schools and an 11-3 record in home games. The teams last squared off on Dec. 12, 2006 when the Phoenix won 92-81.
OPENING DAY: Green Bay is 25-18 all-time in its season openers. In its past 24 home openers, the Phoenix is 22-2 dating back to 1987-88, with wins in the past nine such games. Green Bay has posted a margin of victory of 39 in its opener the past two seasons.
KICKING OFF A TOUGH SLATE: Saturday begins the team's challenging 30-game schedule, which tests a Phoenix team which will suit up 13 times against programs which won 20 or more games a season ago. To watch a breakdown of the schedule, click here.
ELITE COMPANY: Brown was in elite company in 2011-12. Brown, then a sophomore, was one of only two players to average at least 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game. The other? Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Brown is a Preseason All-Horizon League First-Team selection heading into 2012-13.
OLD FOR 18: Sykes enters the 2012-13 season as a starting point guard and a team captain. He enters as a Preseason All-Horizon League Second-Team. He enters the year after a season in which he scored 335 points and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Amazingly, he also enters as an 18-year old, and he will stay that way through the first 13 games of his sophomore campaign.
STREAKIN' CERRONI: Another returning starter is junior Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.), who led the Horizon League in three-point shooting as a sophomore in 2011-12. Cerroni knocked down 46.5 percent (60-129) from long range and will enter this season having knocked down a triple in 19 games in a row dating back to Dec. 13, 2011.
THIS IS GREEN BAY BASKETBALL: The 2012-13 season will be the 44th in the history of the Green Bay men's basketball program. Since the first year of Green Bay men's basketball in 1969-70, the program has an all-time record of 758-513.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: A season after facing a non-conference schedule among the nation's toughest, Green Bay will again take on a challenging slate in 2012-13. The non-conference opponents include teams from the BIG EAST (Marquette), Big Ten (Wisconsin), Atlantic Coast Conference (Virginia), WAC (Nevada and Idaho) and Missouri Valley (Southern Illinois).
HOME COOKIN': The 2011-12 season marked one of the most successful home seasons the Phoenix has had since moving into the Resch Center in 2002-03. Green Bay posted a 12-2 home mark (13-2 in 2008-09) to improve its record at the Resch to 22-6 under head coach Brian Wardle and 57-15 at the Resch Center since 2007-08, a .792 winning percentage.
HOMEGROWN: A year after bringing in a talented freshman class of Chicago natives, Wardle looked closer to home for seniors from the Class of 2012. The Phoenix roster consists of four freshmen from Wisconsin, including Nick Arenz (Onalaska, Wis.), Ryan Bross (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) and Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.).
COME JOIN: Not to ignore his home area of Chicago, Wardle also welcomed a pair of transfers who come to Green Bay from the Chicago area. Junior college transfer Sultan Muhammad, a Michigan native, played at Chicago's South Suburban College and will be making his Phoenix debut on Saturday. Eastern Illinois transfer Alfonzo McKinnie, who must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules, is a Chicago native and former high school teammate of Sykes.
BLOCK PARTY: It has become a little tougher for Green Bay opponents to shoot in the lane since Brown's arrival on campus. In his first two seasons, the 7-foot-1 Brown has swatted 156 shots to shatter the Phoenix career record. With 89 blocks as a sophomore, Brown averaged 3.0 per game, a number that ranked in the top-10 nationally. Another 36 combined blocks from Brennan Cougill and Mays helped the team register a school-record 142 for the year.
TALL ORDER: Wardle pledged early on in his tenure to add height and length to the Phoenix roster. Consider it mission accomplished as the roster's 14 players have an average height of over 6-foot-5. The addition of the 7-foot-1 Bross gives Green Bay a pair of seven-footers, and six others stand at least 6-foot-6. Newcomers McKinnie (6-8), Arenz (6-8) and Fouse (6-7) will help to make Green Bay one of the tallest teams in the Horizon League. Sykes is the roster's lone player under six feet tall.
Read a full season preview of the men's basketball team and watch a 1-on-1 interview with Wardle.
Full season ticket and Pick 5 packages are on sale now with the Green Bay Athletics Ticket Office. For more information and to order tickets, please call 920.465.2625, visit the athletics department offices in the Kress Events Center or access GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.