Well, that was brutal.
In the pre-game run-up to tip off CBS did a live look in on the locker room where WMU head coach Steve Hawkins was ripping his team about not thinking they had a chance to win. He brought up Facebook & Twitter messages his team was receiving about win, lose or draw, already having achieved a great season. Hawkins was pissed, telling his team they needed to believe they could win to stand a chance. It appears his fears were right. The Broncos looked defeated just a few minutes into the contest.
The Broncos seemed scared to drive to the lane, instead settling for deep 3s that rarely fell. Meanwhile Syracuse was attacking offensively, turning 1 WMU first half turnovers into a 19-point lead at halftime.
(First half box score)
The second half didn't get much better, though WMU didn't clamp down on the ball and stop coughing it up. The Broncos weren't helped by the fact that David Brown spent the majority of the second half in pain. He was visibly limping up and down the court, clearly just playing for pride at that point.
It was an all-out terrible performance from everyone on the roster not named Tucker Haymond. WMU was just out of its league against a team that started the season 25-0.
This also marks the second straight season, and third time in four seasons, that the MAC's lone representative in the NCAA Tournament was blown out in their first game. In 2013 Akron was blown out by VCU, 88-42. In 2011 Akron also lost as the MAC's lone representative to Notre Dame, 69-58.
With WMU's loss the top 4 teams in the MAC from this season are all done for the year. WMU was the MAC Champion. Toledo, co-regular season champs and MAC Tourney runner up, lost in the first round of the NIT Wednesday night. Akron, the No. 4 seed in the MAC Tournament lost to IPFW in the first round of the CIT Wednesday night and Buffalo, the MAC East champs and the No. 3 seed in the MAC Tournament, didn't accept a post-season bid.