Missouri State University men Bears will tip off the new basketball season tonight on the road in Virginia.
In our Bear Nation report, Missouri State will take on the Monarchs from Old Dominion.
The Monarchs beat the Bears by six points in February of 2012 in Springfield, but this is a whole new Old Dominion team.
Missouri State on the other hand has a number of new faces, but most of the experienced players are back for Paul Lusk's third season.
Last season, the Bears were 11 and 22.
Missouri State has added more players in the off-season, and can't wait to tip off the new season and improve on that finish.
"It's a whole new look. We have so much depth," says Bears forward Keith Pickens. "Practices are more competitive, a lot more bodies in and out, different combinations. I think everybody is working well together. And we all get along in the lockerroom. I think it's great."
"Well, we have to get better. And we have to continue to get better," Lusk says. I know it's been talked about a lot about bigger bodies. Just because you have bigger bodies doesn't necessarily mean you'll be a better rebounding team. We need to get rebounding from that 4 and 5 spot."
The young Evangel Crusaders will hit the road for the last time Saturday when they take on Peru State.
It's been a rough season for the Crusaders who have fought through injuries and inexperience.
Evangel has lost three of its last four games.
And Brenton Illum's troops will get another test Saturday afternoon in Nebraska.
The Bobcats are 7-and-2 and have one of the top rushing attacks in the NAIA ranks.
Evangel's defensive line may be young but the players say they are ready for the peru state ground attack.
"It will be great to pull an upset on them. We beat them last year so we're coming into the game with the same expectations," says linebacker Carlen Simms. "Do the same thing we did last year, just force them out of what they want to do, force them out of their game plan. So thats just a big emphasis for us this week, stop that run."
"We are set up, I mean we got 25 of our top 44 two deep guys are freshman. I mean that makes it tough right now but we are set up. We got what we want. We got great people and the future is really bright," Illlum adds.
Boys high school soccer last night, district championship match between Glendale and Nixa.
And Glendale would open the scoring in the first half, Derek Roberts with the pass to Robert Spence, the Nixa keeper comes off his line, the ball is still loose. Freshman Sean Perryman gets to the ball and shoots and scores; 1-0 Glendale.
Later in the first, the Falcons pass goes across the goal mouth, Anthony Palmisano's shot ricochets off the goal post, back into play, Ruell Chapple fires home the rebound, it's 2-0.
And Glendale shuts out Nixa 5-0.