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5 facts

• Senior guard Frank Gaines averaged 21.2 points last season, which placed him 10th in the nation.

• Including Gaines, the Summit League had three of the top 10 individual scorers in the country last season. Oakland’s Reggie Hamilton was No. 1 with a 25.7 average, and South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters was ninth (21.3).

• This season marks the first time since 2004-05 that an IPFW men’s team has not faced a Big Ten opponent.

• Of the Mastodons’ 14 home games, four (Navy, Western Illinois, IUPUI, North Dakota State) will be played at the Gates Center. All others will be at Memorial Coliseum.

• IPFW has more players on its roster from Florida (six) than Indiana (five).

4 games of interest

Dec. 1 vs. Miami, Ohio: The RedHawks are the first MAC team the Mastodons have faced since they beat Toledo 78-65 in 2010-11.

Dec. 5 at Valparaiso: Since losing its first five games against Valparaiso, IPFW has won three of the past four.

Dec. 17 at Notre Dame: The Irish are ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press preseason poll.

Feb. 7 vs. South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits are the preseason favorites to win the Summit League

3 key players

Gaines, Sr., G: The 6-4 Gaines averaged 21.2 points and 5.9 rebounds last season; first team All-Summit League

Joe Edwards, So., G: The 6-4 Edwards averaged 4.2 points and led Mastodons with 12 points against Purdue last season

Kevin Harden, Jr., G: The 6-2 Harden averaged 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists at Santa Fe (Fla.) College

2 points of concern

Defense: Because Gaines will be every opponents’ focal point to stop, another scorer will have to come forth. And with IPFW struggling early in the season to score points, defense becomes paramount. If IPFW can’t run and gun with teams, the Mastodons will have to stop them.

Turnovers: Because transition baskets will be a premium, IPFW will rely on a fast break. With running comes turnovers, and in practice, that’s been a problem.

1 major issue

Point guard: When Jonny Marlin left the team after his first season, he took with him 3.5 assists per game. Sophomore Isaiah McCray has the inside track for the position but could be pushed by junior college transfer Pierre Bland.

– Steve Warden, The Journal Gazette