Detroit vs Youngstown State Preview

Detroit vs Youngstown State Preview Antoine Davis
(Photo: Detroit Mercy Athletics)

Horizon League play tips-off with two teams that aren’t expected to contend for a championship this season–but if college basketball history tells us anything, both of these squads can make noise during conference play.

Game time is set for a 2 p.m. ET matinée between the Detroit Mercy Titans (3-9) and the Youngstown State Penguins (4-9).

This is the 40th year of the Horizon League (1979-80) and the 39th with Detroit Mercy as a member as the Titans are the eldest program in the league. The Titans will open league play on the road for just the third time in the last 10 seasons, but against an opponent it has dominated…

All-time series

Detroit holds a sizable advantage in the series: 37-9 including 11 wins in a row. They are 14-6 when playing at Youngstown.

The Titans finished its non-conference schedule at 3-9, but it was one of the toughest in the country with nine road games and teams posting a 90-53 (62.9%) record so far. The schedule was featured as the 14th hardest by ESPN’s BPI standard in a recent article released on Dec. 17.

One man show

Detroit Mercy is led by one man: freshman Antoine Davis, the coaches son.

Davis is third in the nation in scoring at 26.0 points per game to go with 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. It is likely that this will be his lone season at the school–he is a hot topic among NBA scouts (I heard this personally at the AdvoCare Invitational this past November).

The reason Davis is playing at an unheralded program like Detroit Mercy? His father, Mike Davis, is the head coach. You may remember Davis from his Indiana, UAB or Texas Southern coaching days, but after being let go after a successful stop at TSU, Detroit was quick to scoop him up (knowing his son would likely be tagging along).

Antoine will be the most talented player on the court and he is a one-man show who is willing to take over a game if he feels his shot is going down. In his first 12 collegiate games he now has eight 20-point games, five 30+ performances and a 42-point performance. He just doesn’t look like your prototypical star basketball player.

Here is an excerpt from a brilliant article from Brendan Quinn of The Athletic on Mike and Antoine Davis that I highly recommend you read in full.

Antoine (pronounced Ann-twan) is roughly 6-foot and 157 pounds. He’s built like a ninth grader and wears a white T-shirt under his blousy UDM jersey. “I’m too skinny,” he tells me, shaking his head. You expect Antoine to play like a kid because he looks like one. But then he zigs and zags through defenders, finds a window of space and lofts another 3. His release is as quick as a cricket and follows the same arc every time. Then you find out that Antoine has been working out with John Lucas Jr., that old sage, since he was 14, and has taken anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 shots per day ever since. He once took 60,000 shots over the course of 12 days.

Practice makes perfect I guess, but plain and simple, Antoine Davis is fun to watch.

For Youngstown State, they too have played a difficult non-conference slate and are coming off a 75-56 loss to 15th-ranked Ohio State on Dec.18.

Freshman Darius Quiseberry led the Penguins in scoring for the second straight game with 17 points against OSU and watching him play, he has improved in every game and is truly getting better each time out.

YSU led for over 20 minutes in that game over the Buckeyes so the final score is a little deceiving.

Rebounding Machine

Sophomore Naz Bohannon hauled down a career-high 19 rebounds against Central Michigan on Dec. 4. That total marks the most rebounds in a game by a YSU player since Adam Baumann had 21 in 2003. Over the last four games, Bohannon has averaged 11.8 rebounds per game.

Roster Turnover

Both teams are going through a roster overhaul. YSU under second-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun have completely revamped the program–all 17 players listed on the basketball roster are either in their first or second year with the team.

Detroit is in the same boat, in The Athletic article I spoke of above, Quinn visited the campus in August during practice and the team consisted of five total players.


LINE: -2 Youngstown State

O/U: 148

Dan’s Bet: +2 Detroit Mercy

Score Prediction: Detroit 72 Youngstown State 70

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Latest posts by Dan Schalk (see all) SchalkHorizon LeagueNCAABRecent PostsCollege Basketball,Detroit Mercy Titans,Detroit vs Youngstown State,Horizon League,Youngstown State PenguinsDetroit vs Youngstown State Preview Horizon League play tips-off with two teams that aren't expected to contend for a championship this season--but if college basketball history tells us anything, both of these squads can make noise during conference play. Game time is set for a 2 p.m. ET matinée between the...