The Otterbein Men's basketball team enters the 2017-18 season with experienced returners and nine freshman. The team welcomes back 11 letter winners, including three starters.

"We've got a lot of young guys, a big freshman class coming in, and a lot of sophomores who played a lot last year, so we're just looking to take another step forward in the rebuilding process that we started two years ago," said head coach Brian Oilar.

One goal that the team will be working towards this year is to qualify for the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament. 

"This is something that we haven't been able to do for the last two years. That's something that our guys have been talking about. I think it would be a good next step for the program to take," said Oilar.


Last year the team had a rocky start to the season. They picked up towards the holidays, but ended the season on a flat note, ending the season with 7 wins and 18 losses. 

"I think, for us it's mainly about the process each day of getting better. We feel like if we do that, then all of the goals will take care of themselves," said Oilar. "If we can feel like we are playing our best basketball at the end of the season, then whatever that means from a results standpoint, I think we will be very happy. I think if we can have that steady build throughout the season, so we are playing our best in February, then that will be really good." 

The team is lead by four seniors: Corey Howard, Matt Hughes, Nick Nossaman and Michael Howard. Hughes is the team's leading returning scorer (9.4 ppg) and rebounder (4.3 rpg).


Oilar mentioned that sophomores Austin Springer and Nick Koontz played a lot of minutes last year. Koontz played in all 25 games for the Cardinals last season. He was credited with a team high of 35 steals.  

"A lot of our freshman have looked good up to this point. I think they have really added to the depth of the team and added to the competitiveness of our practices, which has been really fun to watch this fall," said Oilar . 

The Cardinals started their season with a game at Denison on November 15 and suffered a 76-69 loss. 

The Cardinals traveled to Crestview Hills, Kentucky, where they played two games. The team played St. Thomas More College (L 69-80) and Hanover College (L 68-71).  

Conference play begins on November 29 at 7 p.m. against Marietta, the reining OAC champions.