MEQUON, Wis.- Nobody is as excited about the start of a basketball season as a team's head coach.
Concordia Wisconsin mentor Shawn Cassidy is more than ready to see how his Falcon contingent will fare against some quality opposition when they open non-conference play this weekend.
Host Carroll University, the Falcons' November 16th opponent, received enough votes to be ranked 31st in the initial D3 men's basketball coaches poll and picked for second in the MWC.
The Pioneeers feature All-MWC honorees Alec Molter and Kevin Hurd. In the 2011-12 season Carroll became the first team to win the conference tournament as the number four seed since the conference moved to the current tournament format in the 1998-99 season.
The Pioneers won a tiebreaker over Ripon in the regular season with a 10-8 league mark and Carroll was able to defeat Transylvania in the NCAA Tournament before bowing out to Wittenberg in round two.
Molter led the Pioneers with 13.9 points per game and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 58% from the field. Hurd finished second in scoring on the team with 11.9 points per game and led the team shooting from downtown (44%) by hitting 44 three pointers.
Jake Bast (9.8 ppg.) and Dan Kratz (9.0 ppg) also are back to round out a strong Pioneers team.
Two other strong teams, Carthage and Buena Vista meet at 6:00pm Friday before the Falcons and Pioneers do battle.
The winners of Friday evening's games will battle Saturday at 3:00pm after the 1:00pm consolation game.
Buena Vista has "depth across the board" from a conference championship squad according to Coach Brian Van Haaften. "Our expectations are going to stay high. We plan to make a deep tournament run."
Carthage was inconsistent last season, finishing with a 12-13 record, but 12 of 17 players return including four of five starters.
First team all conference returnee Malcolm Kelly is the dominant guard in the CCIW.
"How could I not be excited for this weekend?," offered Cassidy.