clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Grand Canyon Antelopes: Men's Basketball Preview

Central welcomes their toughest opponent yet, who are lead by a very familiar face.

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The Grand Canyon Antelopes will travel to the wintry airs of Mt. Pleasant for a Saturday evening match-up with the Chippewas. Dan Majerle (CMU Class of 1988) will make an appearance in McGuirk Arena over 20 years after his last appearance as a player for the Chippewas. That came in old Rose Arena, where he set many of the school's records before being drafted 14th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 1988.

It appears that the game will be streamed for video on ESPN3. It will also be available to listen to to on the Chippewa Sports Network of radio stations, which can be found in this handy little chart for local radio affiliates. Chip fans nationwide can listen to a live stream at www.wcfx.com.

Location Spectrum Call Letters
Mount Pleasant 95.3 FM WCFX
Houghton Lake 98.5 FM WUPS
Midland 100.9 FM WLUN
Ann Arbor 1050 AM WTKA
Ann Arbor 1290 AM WLBY

So, just who are the Antelopes, and what have they done?

The Lopes, as they prefer to be called, played in the Western Athletic Conference last season, going 15-15 in Dan Majerle's first year as head coach, including 10-6 in conference. This finish was good enough for 3rd place in the conference. What makes that stat all the more impressive is that this time two years ago, the Lopes were playing D-II basketball.

The Lopes currently hold a 2-3 record, with losses to the #1 Kentucky Wildcats, UT-Arlington and Buffalo and wins over Montana State and Florida A&M. Grand Canyon is quickly gaining ground in an otherwise competitive basketball environment, where Arizona is king. Their central location in Phoenix could potentially give them an edge in recruiting on down the line.

Lopes to Look For

Jerome Garrison, a 6-foot-3, 178 pound guard, is easily the best player on the roster and averaged just under seventeen points per game last season. Garrison was also named to the All-WAC Second Team and All-WAC Defensive Team last season, shooting 40% from behind the arc. Garrison is the main offensive weapon for the Lopes, especially with only two of their starters from last season returning.

Royce Woolridge is a transfer from Kansas and has been lighting up the scoreboards for double digits in every single game this season, including nineteen in the game against Buffalo. Woolridge is currently leading the Lopes in points this season, averaging fourteen per game.

Ryan Majerle has been seeing some time at guard as well this season, averaging ten points and three rebounds a game. Daniel Alexander leads the teams in rebounds with 24 overall in five games. Majerle and Alexander also lead the Lopes in free throws, both being perfect from the charity stripe.

Matchup

It will be a pretty exciting matchup (besides the Majerle storyline.) CMU has smaller guards than the Lopes, but Chris Fowler is more of a true point guard that has plenty of playmakers to pass the ball to, including Blake Hibbitts and the recently hot John Simons. Be prepared for a lot of Braylon Rayson to push the tempo against the Lopes.

Both teams are guard-heavy, so it could come down to a battle of the forwards if the game gets close. DaRohn Scott, Luke Meyer, Simons, and Hibbitts will have to provide key rebounds for the Chippewas down the stretch, fighting against Majerle and Alexander on the glass.

Grand Canyon has only scored sixty points per game, while giving up an average of 65 points. Central, meanwhile, wipes the floor with their opponents, averaging 83 points while holding opponents to 54. It must be noted that Central did score 106 against D-III Alma in their season opener, which might inflate their overall state slightly.

Prediction

Central has dominated every opponent they have played this season, winning all four games by double digits. GCU has literally gone back and forth with wins and losses on the season, and are on the road for the first time in four games. The game has the potential for offensive fireworks, and the game could be close enough for discomfort. The Chippewas eke out a win, 77-73.