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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team will hit the road for its final preseason exhibition game on Thursday (Nov. 7) night as the Bulldogs visit West Michigan rival Calvin for a 7:30 p.m. (ET) tipoff at Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids.
Thursday's exhibition game will be broadcasted live online by the Bulldog Sports Network at FerrisStateBulldogs.com with pregame coverage starting at 7:15 p.m. (ET). Rob Bentley will call the play-by-play action for the online-only coverage.
The preseason tilt will be the Bulldogs' third exhibition game in the last two weeks in addition to an alumni game. FSU split with a pair of preseason NAIA top 20 teams in Madonna and Davenport before topping group of alumni stars from the past 129-89 this past Saturday.
Meanwhile, Calvin will take the floor for the first time after posting an impressive 26-4 mark a year ago. The Knights hit the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2006 while capturing the MIAA Tournament title and reaching the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 2007. Three starters and nine letterwinners are back from a year ago with Calvin chosen as the league's preseason favorite this year.
Expectations are also high heading into the 2013-14 season for Ferris State as the Bulldogs return 10 letterwinners from a year ago.
Ferris State will open a new era this season under first-year head coach Andy Bronkema, who was elevated to the position after six years as an assistant coach in July. Overall, Ferris State has won four league championships and twice reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen in men's basketball over the past decade.
Last year, with Bronkema as the Bulldogs' top assistant, Ferris State wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 14-13 overall record and the Bulldogs reached the GLIAC Postseason Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, which ranks as one of the conference's top showings over the past decade.
In his first year as the program's top assistant in 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen. FSU followed up the memorable campaign by winning a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division crown in 2011-12. The Bulldogs have made five-straight league tournament berths to date in Bronkema's tenure as an assistant coach and FSU has recorded more victories in the competitive GLIAC North than any other school over the last three years.
Bronkema takes over a Ferris State program with a long track record of success that includes more than 1,000 all-time victories, 13 GLIAC Championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances entering the 2013-14 season. FSU also posted an impressive 10-1 mark at home in league regular-season action during the 2012-13 season at Jim Wink Arena.
Among Bronkema's top returnees this season will be three starters in junior guards Dietrich Lever (Detroit/Canton) and Drew Lehman (Toledo/Central Catholic) along with sophomore center Jared Stolicker(Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg).
The other letterwinners back include five sophomores in wing Milton Cribbs (Detroit/Inkster), guard Jibreel Jackson (Chicago/Curie), forward Josh Fleming (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North), wing Matt Sinnaeve (Gwinn) and forward Dan Chilcote (Jackson/Lumen Christi) along with redshirt junior forward Matt Stoll (Kent City) and senior forward Raymoan McAfee (Detroit/Pershing).
The official season opener for the Bulldog men takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 20, as FSU opens the 2013-14 campaign on the road against regional foe Lewis (Ill.) in Romeoville, Ill.