SEWARD, Neb. – The wait for Concordia University Men’s Basketball is just about over. The 2021-22 season will tip off this weekend at the Hastings College C3 Tip-Off Classic. The Bulldogs are readying to take on Friends University (Kan.) on Friday and then Presentation College (S.D.) on Saturday. Both matchups will be staged inside Lynn Farrell Arena on the Hastings campus. Head Coach Ben Limback’s program is coming off a 17-9 overall mark in 2020-21.
Hastings C3 Tip-Off Classic
Friday, Oct. 29 vs. Friends (0-0), 3 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 30 vs. Presentation (1-3), 2 p.m.
Expectations are high for Concordia with the program returning its top seven scorers from last season. That group includes 2020-21 All-GPAC honorees in Justin Wiersema (first team), Carter Kent (second team) and Gage Smith (second team). Those three standouts started last season alongside current ‘super seniors’ in Ryan Holt and Sam Scarpelli. Foremost among the key returning reserves are Klay Uher and AJ Watson. Combining that group with the newcomers should make for the deepest team the Bulldogs have had in Limback’s tenure, which began with the 2013-14 season.
Naturally, Concordia has been picked by league coaches to finish near the top of the league standings. The Bulldogs landed at No. 3 in the GPAC poll, behind 2021 national qualifying teams in Morningside and Jamestown. Limback’s squad also received votes in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll unveiled on Wednesday. A strong start at the Hastings Classic could help spring-board the program into the NAIA top 25 for the first time since the 2010-11 season. This will mark the third season in a row that has begun at the Hastings Classic.
Friends appeared at No. 7 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll after posting a record of 8-16 overall last season. There will be plenty of unknowns regarding the Falcons, who have a new head coach in Austin McBeth, who played at Iowa State University and previously served as the top assistant coach at NCAA Division II Truman State University. The top returner for McBeth’s squad is senior guard Davonte Pack, who was an honorable mention All-American last season while averaging 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
Presentation has already played four times this season and has dropped three games to GPAC opponents: Doane, Midland and Jamestown. Denzel McDuffey has been the team’s leading scorer with an average of 15.0 points per game. The Saints are hoping to rebound from a 4-23 campaign in 2020-21. They also have a new head coach with Stan Holt taking over the reins. Holt has guided teams to three national tournament appearances in his previous coaching stops.
Following the Hastings Classic, the Bulldogs will look forward to hosting the 22nd annual Cattle Classic next weekend (Nov. 5-6). As part of the event, Concordia will take on Waldorf University (Iowa) and No. 18 Benedictine College (Kan.). More information about the Cattle Classic can be found by clicking HERE.