MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University men's basketball team will host Ferris State University at the Berry Events Center at 1 p.m. today, the first time Wildcats head coach Bill Sall will face his former team.
Sall coached FSU for 11 years before coming to NMU during the past off-season. Coming to Big Rapids in a situation similar to Northern's, where the team had been struggling, Sall's teams won four GLIAC division titles and made three appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament, reaching the regional finals twice.
Last year, Ferris was 13-9 in league games and qualified for the GLIAC postseason tournament, while NMU struggled to 4-18 conference and 5-21 overall marks under former coach Doug Lewis.
First-year Ferris head coach Andy Bronkema was an assistant coach under Sall for six seasons, including serving as the top assistant the past three.
While Sall said he hasn't seen the exact same systems run by Bronkema that he ran, he expects at least a fair amount of philosophy to be similar considering his time on the staff.
Sall also said he was still at Ferris when all the players, including this year's freshmen, were recruited.
Though NMU leads the all-time series vs. the Bulldogs 66-55, Ferris - under Sall - has won 11 in a row against the Wildcats dating back to Northern's last win in the 2005-06 season.
This game, plus the NMU-Ferris State women's game at 11 a.m., have earlier starting times than usual so BEC staff can set up the surface for a Wildcats hockey game this evening.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.