Metro State Men’s Basketball Readying for NIT Season Tip-Off

THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT – Roadrunners Guard Brandon “BJ” Jefferson was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason player of the year. [Photo Courtesy of Metro State Athletics]

THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT – Roadrunners Guard Brandon “BJ” Jefferson was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason player of the year. [Photo Courtesy of Metro State Athletics]

With men’s and women’s soccer coming to an end, it’s time to get basketball tipped off. The men will begin their season with a bang in the 2013 NIT Season Tip-Off in Tucson, Arizona.

Coming off a season in which the Roadrunners fell one-point short of their third National Championship in school history (the 74-73 loss to the Drury Panthers), the men are looking to get back to the big stage and finish what they started a year ago.

UP AND IN – Junior Guard Mitch McCarron looks to lead his Roadrunners squad to a Championship. [Photo Courtesy of Metro State Athletics]

UP AND IN – Junior Guard Mitch McCarron looks to lead his Roadrunners squad to a third Championship in school history. [Photo Courtesy of Metro State Athletics]

The Roadrunners, who are ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division 2, have reloaded with a roster that is arguably better than the team that made it to the title game last season. With graduating starting seniors in Jonathan Morse and Demetrius Miller, Head Coach Derrick Clark added five new players including two Division 1 transfers in Raul Delgado from BYU and Will Sinclair from Utah Valley University. “It’s good. It’s a different look,” said McCarron. “I think it’s easy to sit back and say well, (we) lost this, and (we) lost that. And then ignore what we’ve picked up as well. I think it’s a different looking group. We’re a bit taller, average height, and we’re pretty athletic.”

The Roadrunners will face the Rhode Island Rams in the first round on Nov. 18, a team that finished 8-21 a year ago behind new Head Coach Dan Hurley. The 2013-14 Rams should be a much improved team however, a possible dark horse in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Rams are returning their starting back-court including three-year starter Mike Powell, and their leading scorer from a year ago in Xavier Munford. They’ll be adding two pieces to their front-court in Ifeanyi Onyekaba and Gilvydas Biruta who both sat out last season due to NCAA regulations.

After the game against Rhode Island on Monday, Nov. 18th, the Roadrunners will play either University of Arizona or Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday, Nov. 19th, depending on the first-round outcomes. Tucson, Ariz., will be the host city of the four-team West Region. The semifinals and championship will be played in New York at Madison Square Garden.

RED OUT - A sneak peak at the look of the new Metro State all-red uniforms that they'll break out in 2013-14. [Photo Courtesy of Metro State Athletics]

RED OUT – A sneak peak at the look of the new Metro State all-red uniforms that they’ll break out in 2013-14. [Photo Courtesy of Metro State Athletics]

The NCAA began inviting one Division II team to participate in the predominantly Division I tournament last season, making Metro State University the second-ever Division II school to hold this honor. In 2012, Division II Alabama-Huntsville knocked off North Texas in the first round. “It’s a huge honor. Huge privledge,” said McCarron. “It’s a great opportunity for our team and to to represent the college and the athletic programs and it’s going to be a great experience for us all.”

Men’s Basketball Head Coach Derrick Clark reiterated McCarron’s excitement for the opportunity. “We are honored to be only the second Division II team to compete in this prestigious tournament,” said Coach Clark. “This is a complement to Mike Dunlap, Bob Hull and all the former players that have helped create the rich tradition of Metro State basketball. We will do our best to represent the RMAC, Division II’s South Central Region and Metro State University.”

You can tune into the radio broadcast of the game on KMetRadio.org beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18th. Yours truly Anthony Rodriguez and Mike Ingersoll will have the call. The game on Tuesday against either Farleigh Dickinson or Arizona will also be broadcasted on KMetRadio.org, time TBD.

Some quotes in this story are courtesy of http://gometrostate.com/ and a past story written for Post-Telegraph.com, “Get to Know: Mitch McCarron.” http://www.post-telegraph.com/features/profiles/get-to-know-mitch-mccarron/

Anthony Rodriguez

Anthony Rodriguez

Anthony is the Founder, Administrator, Editor and Publisher of Lightning Rod Sports. Originally from California, Anthony has been raised in the Rocky Mountains and Denver area for most of his life. Anthony works with the Emmy-winning student-run T.V. newscast at MSU Denver, The Met Report, as the Assistant General Manager, formerly the Sports Producer, as well as Lead Anchor and Production Assistant. He is currently the Play-by-Play Announcer, Color Commentator, and Production Assistant for the Metro State Broadcast Network, and calls games for Metro State soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and softball as a “Voice of the Roadrunners.” In addition to that work with the Metro State Broadcast Network, Anthony also hosts the monthly 30-minute magazine show called "The Roadrunner Review" which airs on Altitude Sports and Entertainment. He hosts the bi-weekly "KMet Sports Show" on KMET Radio at MyMetMedia.com/KMETSportsShow. He is also the Founder, Administrator, Editor, and Columnist for his own Denver Sports website, LightningRodSports.com. Anthony is also part of the Social Media team at Examiner.com, and has worked with the Altitude Radio Network for the Avalanche and Nuggets. Anthony is a former Producer for Mile High Sports Radio, as well as a former Sports-Talk show host on the LightningRod Radio Network.

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