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Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Miami RedHawks: Contenders or pretenders?

Two perennial MAC basketball basement dwellers are looking to pick up their second conference win of the season.

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

If there's one thing we've learned from the first two games of the conference season, it's that this season is going to be completely unpredictable. Both divisions in the MAC are up for grabs and almost every team could make an argument for being a serious contender. Central Michigan and Miami are two teams that not many people expected to be in the hunt when the season started, but both teams are coming into the game on Wednesday with solid resumès.

Miami will come into Mt. Pleasant having already played two of the tougher teams in the conference. The RedHawks started MAC play with a close loss to Buffalo, and then followed that up with an overtime win against Eastern Michigan with both games played at home. Miami wasn't expected to make much noise this season, and even with the win against EMU, the RedHawks are still at the bottom of the power rankings.

That being said, Miami has some play makers on their roster than can give even the best MAC teams fits. Eric Washington has led the RedHawks on the floor this season. The Presbyterian Blue Hose transfer is averaging 13 points and five assists per-game. Washington is accompanied by fellow guard Will Sullivan who has emerged as one of the better shooters in the conference.

Players like Washington and Sullivan have the potential to put up strong numbers against a CMU defense that has shown to be suspect at times.

The Chippewas just came crashing back down to earth against Ball State after their big win to open the conference season against Toledo. After holding Juice Brown to only seven points and the Rockets to only 62, the Chips came out and allowed Ball State to come out and shoot over 50 percent from the field as they lost in a blowout.

Despite the offensive slowdown, the Chippewas still have one of the nations highest scoring offenses and they will be looking to stretch the floor against a Miami team that likes to slow the game down. Braylon Rayson particularly has been off to a slow start to the conference season for the Chips. If Rayson is able to pick up his scoring it will provide the spark that CMU's offence has been lacking the last two games. Whoever is able to dictate the pace of the game should come out on top.

Tip-off is at 7pm in McGuirk Arena in Mt. Pleasant. You'll be able to stream it online on ESPN3.