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Just Saying: Feeling Keene on Central Michigan

Central Michigan continues to get buckets.

NCAA Basketball: MAC Conference Tournament-Buffalo vs Central Michigan Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Another week of MAC hoops has passed, and it hasn’t been all that impressive. Only a couple performances really stick out thus far.

That being said, Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene is torching nets, hammering rims and giving Chippewa fans a reason to be excited again.

In what was supposed to be a down year (in the minds of us who didn’t know what a talent the Chips had in Keene), but CMU has reason to be having high hopes once more.

In defeating Pepperdine, a program that has established a good foundation over the last few years, Keene proved his scoring abilities that were demonstrated in three early wins were not a fluke.

Keene’s 36-point, 7-assist, 4-rebound, 14-of-22 shooting the type of effort that makes statisticians foam at the mouth. No one should think that Keene is going to maintain this level of insanely good play for an extended period of time, but boy has it been impressive. He won’t be able to shoot 43 percent from beyond the arc, and probably won’t finish tops in the nation in scoring like he currently is (at 30.3 per game).

He wasn’t the only one to fill it up against the Waves. Josh Kozinski demonstrated his sharpshooting prowess with a 5-of-8 effort from beyond the arc. Braylon Rayson kicked in 20 for good measure.

Rayson, who moved into fifth place in the school’s history in 3-pointers made according to CMU athletics, seems to have no issue with playing second fiddle to Keene. The two are becoming quite the duo.

With Luke Meyer slowly finding his way as a big and freshman David DiLeo coming off the bench for valuable playing time, the Chips have plenty to be excited about.

This is especially the case after watching Eastern Michigan and Ball State struggle a bit this week in losses.

The Cardinals lost twice since last Tuesday, which included a not-too-competitive matchup with Alabama. The Alabama bench actually scored 59 points against the Cardinals in that one. Ball State then barely notched a win over an 0-6 Coppin State squad.

Back to Keno and his Chips, (whose highlights against Marygrove you should enjoy).

With CMU leading the conference in points per game (99.5) scoring margin (34.5), free throw percentage (.768), field goal percentage defense (.375) and more, the Chips have a reason to be ecstatic moving forward. At the same time, CMU won’t be playing NAIA and low-NCAA talent moving forward, so that .321 3-point shooting percentage, ninth best in the MAC, won’t quite measure up to the shooting exploits of teams like Ohio.

Before too long I’m sure I’ll be saying plenty of nice things about Michael Weathers, but some of that is pending. Say the horrible scenario plays out where Ohio loses in football and Miami wins and makes the MAC title game, not sure I’ll be able to stomach saying nice things about the RedHawks.

That being said, here are some of the games to watch out for this upcoming week.

  • Central Michigan plays St. Bonaventure and its talented guards Jaylen Adams Matt Mobley and Little Rock Wednesday in both team’s last game of the Lone Star Showcase.
  • There’s a battle for Illinois supremacy between UIC an NIU Friday.
  • Akron plays Air Force in the Savannah Invitational Friday.
  • Toledo goes toe-to-toe with Evansville Friday, Middle Tennessee Saturday and UNC Wilmington Sunday. Don’t get tired of the Rockets, because this could be a critical point of growth and identity for this team.