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Mad Ants NBADL

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    The reigning D-League chanpion Mad Ants open their season tonight at Memorial Coliseum against Sioux Falls. And they will do so with the same big question they had at this point last season: Is there enough size?
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Erie at Mad Ants

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Memorial Coliseum

2011-12 records: Mad Ants 14-36, Erie 28-22

Web: www.fortwaynehoops.com

2011-12 Mad Ants leaders: Ron Howard (17.5 ppg), Howard (4.1 rpg), Walker Russell Jr. (9.9 apg)

2011-12 Erie leaders: Kyle Spain (12.2 ppg), Marvin Phillips (5.5 rpg), Keith McLeod (5.5 apg)

Key matchup: Phillips, the former Mad Ants forward, is a physical presence, and he’ll be going against a refortified front line that includes Warsaw native Miles Plumlee. Erie has a reputation for being a strong, aggressive team, and the Ants will have to find a way to counteract that. Sean Sonderleiter and JaJuan Johnson will be asked to carry much of the rebounding load.

The skinny: It’s the beginning of the Duane Ticknor era with the Ants. It’s a team with backcourt experience in Howard and Russell, and with youth in the middle led by former Boiler Johnson. … The Ants got some help when the Pacers assigned ex-Duke star Plumlee and guard Orlando Johnson to Fort Wayne for the first two games. … Sonderleiter will have to help until 6-10 Tommy Smith joins the team. Smith has been dealing with family issues and is expected to arrive in Fort Wayne soon.

stwarden@jg.net

– Steve Warden, The Journal Gazette

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