Previewing the 18th annual men's basketball Cattle Classic

By Jake Knabel on Nov. 1, 2017 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The 18th annual Cattle Classic is set to tip off on Friday afternoon inside Walz Arena. The basketball classic features a total of four men’s games and four women’s games over the course of the two-day extravaganza. The event, co-sponsored by Concordia and The Cattle National Bank & Trust Co., raises money and food for the Blue Valley Community Action's Food Pantry. Pac N Save of Seward will match all canned food donations.

Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods in exchange for admission. Ten canned items will get an adult a weekend pass. Complete admission information for the Cattle Classic can be found HERE.

2017 CATTLE CLASSIC SCHEDULE

Friday, Nov. 3

  • Women: Doane University vs. University of St. Francis (Ill.), 1 p.m.
  • Men: Midland University vs. Evangel University (Mo.), 3 p.m.
  • Women: Concordia vs. Viterbo University (Wis.), 6 p.m.
  • Men: Concordia vs. Mount Mercy University (Iowa), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 4

  • Women: Doane University vs. Viterbo University (Wis.), 10 a.m.
  • Men: Midland University vs. Mount Mercy University (Iowa), 12 p.m.
  • Women: Concordia vs. University of St. Francis (Ill.), 3 p.m.
  • Men: Concordia vs. Evangel University (Mo.), 5 p.m.

The Men’s Field

Concordia University
Head coach: Ben Limback, 5th season
2017-18 Record: 1-0
2016-17 Record: 21-10
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference
Location: Seward, Neb.
Top Player: This is to be determined for a team that started four sophomores and one senior in its season opening win at Kansas Wesleyan University on Monday. Based on that outing, second-year players Jake Hornick (career high 23 points) and Clay Reimers (21 points) have a leg up on their teammates. Reimers simply carried over his impressive play from the end of his freshman campaign. Another sophomore, Tanner Shuck, could also jump into the conversation. He did not score at Kansas Wesleyan, but finished last season as the nation’s 13th best 3-point shooter (.463).
Overview: That large sophomore class will have a big say as to whether Concordia outperforms its eighth-place slotting in the GPAC preseason coaches’ poll. The Bulldogs are still feeling things out after saying goodbye to one of the program’s all-time greats in Chandler Folkerts in addition to sharpshooting guard Eli Ziegler. The good news is that Hornick looked comfortable in his new role at the point and Reimers appears primed to realize his star potential. The lone senior is Kyle Pierce, who equaled a career best with 16 points at Kansas Wesleyan. This weekend will provide a good barometer for head coach Ben Limback, who is beginning his fifth season leading the Bulldogs.

Evangel University
Head coach: Steve Jenkins, 36th season
2017-18 Record: 0-0
2016-17 Record: 13-17
Conference: Heart of America Athletic Conference
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Top Player: The Crusaders graduated 2016-17 second team all-conference performer Nick Yocum, leaving senior wing Cody Geiger as the team’s lone returning player that earned some form of all-conference accolades last season. In his first three seasons at Evangel, Geiger has totaled 737 points and 243 rebounds over 61 career games. He was the team’s second leading scorer last season with an average of 12.5 points per game. Geiger owns a career field goal percentage of 55.4.
Overview: It’s difficult to get a read on any team that has yet to play a game this season. Head coach Steve Jenkins’ squad was picked by league coaches to finish 10th out of 13 teams in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Under Jenkins, Evangel has been a consistent winner, capturing seven conference championships while reaching the national tournament 13 times. A 36-year veteran leader of the Crusaders, Jenkins owns a career record of 651-468. Jenkins brought in 10 new players, including Missouri Baptist University transfer guard Luke Call, who averaged 9.8 points last season.

Midland University
Head coach: Oliver Drake, 3rd season at Midland (spent five seasons at Ashford University)
2017-18 Record: 0-0
2016-17 Record: 21-10
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference
Location: Fremont, Neb.
Top Player: Midland lost a boatload of its scoring from last season’s national tournament qualifier, but has restocked its roster with transfers. A new top player seems likely to emerge from that group. The leading returner scorer is guard Chase Parsons, a key piece off the bench in 2016-17. Parsons averaged 9.0 points and shot 42.1 percent from 3-point range.
Overview: We’ll know a lot more after this weekend. The Warriors lost a combined 48.0 points per game due to the departures of Alex Starkel (16.2), Diamontae McKinley (16.0) and Damon Overton (15.8). Midland was picked fifth in the GPAC preseason poll, which means league coaches are banking on Oliver Drake’s ability to reload with transfers. One transfer to watch is former Marygrove College (Mich.) guard T.K. Dixson. He averaged 13.1 points and shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range last season at Marygrove. Dixson and company figure to be competitive within the GPAC once again.

Mount Mercy University
Head coach: Aaron Jennings, 3rd season
2017-18 Record: ­0-0
2016-17 Record: 21-12
Conference: Heart of America Athletic Conference
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Top Player: First team all-conference forward Ben Struss and second team all-conference forward CJ Parker have moved on after leading the Mustangs to the NAIA Division I national tournament last season. Those departures will likely lead to more of a starring role for junior guard Antwain Strong, who averaged 10.0 points and shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range while mostly coming off the bench in 2016-17. Of course, the wild cards are the many transfers that make up the 2017-18 roster.
Overview: The Mustangs have won 74 games over the past three seasons as a nationally respected program within the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Mount Mercy will pose a significant challenge for the Bulldogs on Friday night. Head coach Aaron Jennings actually guided the Mount Mercy women’s program for seven seasons before coming over to the men’s side. Last season the Mustangs were 3-point happy, making 305 of them for the 12th most in NAIA Division I. While Jennings often went 10 or 11 deep in his rotation, the majority of those players have departed. Mount Mercy was picked ninth in the preseason HAAC poll after finishing in a tie for second in 2016-17.