Statistically, these are the two worst defenses in the MAC. The Central Michigan Chippewas are the number 1 offense in the MAC, and 4th in the nation. The Western Michigan Broncos have been scoring much better as of late, hitting 78 or higher in 6 of their last 7. I don’t expect a defensive struggle, that’s for sure.
When: Friday, February 3rd, 6PM
Where: McGuirk Arena, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Listen: 96.5 WZOX in Kalamazoo, or stream at the Central Michigan IMG Sports Network
Scouting The Broncos
Western Michigan comes into the game 7-14 on the year, and 3-6 in the MAC.
They are much better than their record. It’s a cliche’ that gets overused in the sports world, especially by announcers promoting their contest, but it fits here. Their opening schedule has been tough, and they have been competitive in most games.
The Broncos start 2 freshman, a sophomore, a junior and a senior. With that kind of youth, you would expect a team to be streaky, and the Broncos are.
Scouting the Chippewas
The Chippewas are 14-8 on the season, and 4-5 in league play.
They are an offensive powerhouse, but struggle on the defensive side of the ball. Their starting back court of Braylon Rayson and Marcus Keene combine to average over 50 points per game.
Those two are the only Chips that average in double figures. They have multiple other capable scorers, but they, too, are streaky.
Players To Watch
Marcus Keene, Guard, Central Michigan: The 5’9 guard is a blast to watch. He will shoot from anywhere, drives the lane with heart, and even grabs 4.5 boards per game.
He is currently sitting right at 30 points per game. No division one player has scored more than that for a season in 20 years.
Luke Meyer, Forward, Central Michigan: Meyer went nuts in the loss to Buffalo, scoring a career high 19 points.
Thomas Wilder, Guard, Western Michigan: Wilder is one of the best scorers in the conference, averaging 18.2 on the season. He hits 47.3% of his threes.
When he is aggressive, and looking for his shot, the Broncos usually do well.
Seth Dugan, Center, Western Michigan: The sophomore has been inconsistent this year, but earned the starting role a few games ago. It’s allowed Drake LaMont to come off the bench, and for the most part both have been playing well because of it.
Keys to The Game
Central Michigan’s philosophy is pretty straight forward. They have the scorers, and they try to outscore their opponents.
Rayson and Keene are similar players. They both can shoot it, and when they drive, they can finish or dish. When the other Chips are hitting, they are going to score.
In a track meet, they have the edge, but anything can happen. It’s just a matter of who is hitting their shots. That’s why I think Western will try and get the ball into their two big men, and wear down the Chips. I’ll be watching to see if Western can establish their will down low.
Last time out, I picked Western to fall behind, and then drop a close one to Ohio. I was wrong, and Western pulled out the win. My head tells me WMU will fall behind and not be able to pull it out on the road in a hostile environment. Central has called for their fans to do a “maroon out”. All that being said, I have this gnawing feeling it’s going to be Western tonight. I am going with my gut, Western wins 90-88.
*Story edited because it will no longer be available on ESPN 3.