THE GAME: The 2008-2009 season commences tonight when Loyola hosts Mount St. Mary's in the season opener for both teams. The Greyhounds concluded 2007-2008 with a defeat in the MAAC Semifinals to eventual champion Siena while Mount St. Mary's season ended with a loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Championship First Round.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 58-62 (.483) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 2-2 against the Mountaineers. Mount St. Mary's head coach Milan Brown also is in his sixth season with the Mountaineers and has a 51-91 (.359) career record. The 1993 Howard graduate has a 3-2 record against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: There are no common opponents within the teams' schedules. Neither team dips into the other's conference foes and there are no common non-conference opponents.
THE SERIES: The 164th edition in the series, Mount St. Mary's leads, 94-69. This is the most-played rivalry in the history of the state of Maryland and dates back to 1909-1910, Loyola's second season of men's college basketball. These rivals were powerhouses in the old Mason-Dixon Conference and six times they met for the Tournament title, including four straight seasons (1954-1957). The Mountaineers snapped a two-game Loyola winning streak last year with a 70-58 home win and have won five of the last seven.
THE PROGRAM: Loyola is playing its 99th recorded season of basketball this season. The first season was 1908-1909 and this year the College is celebrating the 100th anniversary of that first season. The Greyhounds have posted a 1114-1144(.493) all-time record during that time.
LAST TIME OUT: Loyola used a 17-5 run to take the lead for good after trailing 3-2 early and never looked back in posting a 93-62 exhibition win over Catholic in Reitz Arena last Friday night. Junior guard Brett Harvey led the Greyhounds with 16 points as Loyola received 46 points off its bench. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan and sophomore guard Jamal Barney each scored 13 in reserve roles and freshman guard J'hared Hall tallied 10 in just six minutes. The Greyhounds dominated the boards, 46-23, as four players tied for game-high rebounding honors with seven -- Harvey, Barney, sophomore forward Isaac Reid and junior forward Jawaan Wright. Sophomore guard Brian Rudolph handed out a game-high eight assists and added three steals. Loyola outscored the Cardinals 42-10 in the paint and collected more second-chance points, 17-5.
THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON: This season marks the 100th season of the first season of Loyola basketball in 1908-1909. Tonight's game is the first event of a full slate of items to celebrate the occasion as all basketball alumni, coaches and managers have been invited to return to campus this weekend to commemorate the milestone. A gala is being held Saturday night in McGuire Hall, which was the home of the Greyhounds prior to the construction of Reitz Arena. The weekend of festivities concludes with Loyola hosting Tennessee State on Sunday afternoon at 1 o'clock.
GREYHOUNDS IN SEASON OPENERS: Since elevating the program to Division with the 1981-82 season, Loyola is 15-12 in season openers. This will be the first time in recorded history that Mount St. Mary's has been the opening opponent. Head coach Jimmy Patsos is 1-3 in his season openers with the lone win being a victory at Towson three seasons ago.
NO CHANGING OF THE GUARD: There won't be any changing of the guard for the Greyhounds this season as all three of the guards in the rotation from last season return. Sophomore Brian Rudolph is back at point guard after entering the starting lineup full-time in early January of last year. Junior Brett Harvey has started 61 of 64 games during his career at both the point and shooting guard spots. Last year's conference Sixth Man of the Year, senior Marquis Sullivan was the first guard off the bench, spelling either when needed.
SULLIVAN ON VERGE OF MILESTONE: Already the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made for his career (218), senior guard Marquis Sullivan enters the season needing 24 points to become the 29th member of the school's 1,000-point club. Last season, Gerald Brown joined the exclusive group with a three-pointer at Illinois, becoming the newest Greyhounds member since Jason Rowe in 1999. Sullivan could pass former teammate Michael Tuck (2003-2008) and his 995 career points as early as this weekend and next up would be the 1,000-point threshold.
OLD FACES RETURN: A trio of forwards who were not in Greyhounds uniforms last March rejoin the squad to play key roles this season. Senior forward Brad Farrell will be part of the team after two seasons away, junior Jawaan Wright returns after opting to take a redshirt season in 2007-2008, and sophomore Isaac Reid is back after missing out the second half of last season. They are joined by four freshman newcomers and sophomore guard Jamal Barney, who is eligible this season after establishing his residency following his transfer from Providence College.
LOYOLA TABBED FOR FIFTH BY MAAC COACHES: Defending champion Siena was a unanimous selection to ascend to that spot again at the end of the 2008-2009 season according to the MAAC coaches Preseason Poll. The Saints were followed by Fairfield, Rider and Niagara. Loyola was tabbed for fifth with Manhattan, Iona, Canisius, Saint Peter's and Marist rounding out the 10 teams.
RUDOLPH, SULLIVAN RECEIVE PRESEASON RECOGNITION: Loyola's two major award winners from last season were cited by the MAAC coaches for spots on the conference's Preseason All-League teams. The defending Rookie of the Year, sophomore guard Brian Rudolph was named a second team selection and last year's Sixth Man of the Year, senior guard Marquis Sullivan, received enough votes to be included on the third team for the second consecutive season.
GREYHOUNDS TO PARTICIPATE IN NIT SEASON TIP-OFF: Loyola will make its second appearance in the preseason NIT event when it faces off against host Boston College in the East Region of the 2008 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. The Greyhounds first participated in the event to open the 1997-1998 campaign, losing at Florida State, 89-72. Loyola is guaranteed four games in this year's event, moving on to either Madison Square Garden for the championship round or joining three other teams at one of three consolation sites.
MUVUNA TO SIT OUT SEASON: Freshman forward Joe Muvuna injured his right hand during preseason workouts and is not expected to play this season. It is anticipated that he will receive a medical redshirt and have four years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2009-2010 season.
GREYHOUNDS INK DEAL WITH BALTIMORE'S ESPN RADIO: Once again, ESPN Radio 1300 in Baltimore will be the over-the-air home of Loyola Greyhounds basketball. A minimum of 12 regular-season contests are scheduled for airing beginning with the December 21 game at UC Davis. Tonight's game is available online at www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com with Mark Zinno and Gary Lambrecht calling the action.
HOME GAMES AVAILABLE VIA GREYHOUNDS ALL-ACCESS: Any Loyola non-televised home game is available through live streaming video via "Greyhounds All-Access". Presented with that game's audio broadcast companion, games are available on Loyola's athletics website - www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com. The feeds begin five minutes prior to the scheduled broadcast time with a Loyola coaches show featuring a Greyhounds head coach from one of the Loyola programs. The next live streaming video broadcast is Sunday's home game with Tennessee State which starts at 1:00 p.m.
GREYHOUNDS ON THE WEB: For all the latest sports news on the Loyola men's basketball team and the rest of the Greyhounds athletic teams, log on to the official web site for Loyola College athletics at www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com. Men's basketball game notes are posted on the site 24 hours prior to each game.
NEXT TIME OUT: The regular season underway, Loyola begins a challenging stretch where it will play three games in three days starting with hosting Tennessee State on Sunday afternoon at 1 o'clock in Reitz Arena. From there, a trip to Boston awaits and play in the first two rounds of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. The Greyhounds play host Boston College on Monday on ESPNU and then either Cornell or St. John's on Tuesday.