Central Michigan (1-0) at Bradley (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 12, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,060) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 1-0, BU 2-0. Away Record: CMU 0-0, BU 0-0. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, BU 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, BU 0-0. Series Record: Bradley leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Central Michigan Chippewas and Bradley Braves will both try to remain perfect on the season as they clash in non-conference action at Carver Arena on Tuesday.
The Chippewas coasted to a 101-49 win over Division III foe Manchester at McGuirk Arena to improve to 1-0. Coach Keno Davis will now look to guide the team to its first 2-0 start since the 2002-03 campaign. Central Michigan had difficulty on the road in Davis's first year at the helm of the program, finishing with a 2-13 away record as part of the 11-20 overall finish. None of the Chippewas' starters played more than 19 minutes versus Manchester, which they held to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor in the game.
The Braves enter this contest with a 2-0 record as they followed their 72-65 win over Jacksonville State on Friday with an 85-59 rout of Alabama State on Sunday. Coach Geno Ford has a handful of new additions, who will be very important as the Braves attempt to replicate their 18-17 finish to last season. The revamped Bradley unit knocked down 59.3 percent of its field goal tries on Sunday to help the program begin the season with two straight wins for the fourth consecutive season.
This will be the fourth meeting in history between Central Michigan and Bradley. The Braves own a 2-1 all-time series lead. The Braves broke the series tie last year with an 82-65 victory over the Chippewas in Mount Pleasant on Nov. 28, 2012.
CMU has a big hole to fill on the offensive end as it lost Kyle Randall, the Mid-American Conference's leading scorer to graduation. Randall posted 18.7 points per game to finish the 2012-13 season as the only player on the team with a double-digit scoring average and he was also member of the squad to play more than 30 minutes per game. Sophomore forward John Simons is hoping to build on a promising rookie season during which he contributed 7.4 points and a team-best 4.9 rebounds per outing. Simons tallied 27 points and nine boards in the season-opening victory versus Manchester, while Braylon Rayson scored 12 points and Austin Keel netted 11 points. Rayson is the Chippewas' most promising newcomer. The 5-foot-9, 178-pound guard earned all-state honors as a senior at West Mesquite High School in Texas last season after averaging 30.4 points per game.
Bradley may have a handful of fresh faces on its roster, but senior guard Walt Lemon Jr. is back to provide experience and leadership. Lemon is the Missouri Valley Conference's active leader with 1,181 career points. The senior finished Sunday's win over Alabama State with 19 points, six assists and three steals. Sophomore guard Omari Grier chipped in 14 points, while junior forward Auston Barnes provided 12 points and seven rebounds. Tyshon Pickett, who posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards in the season opener versus JSU, added eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks on Sunday. Pickett has been highly efficient through two games, converting 11-of-17 field goal attempts.
Davis will need Rayson to become a steady scorer for his Chippewas as it will be hard for Simon to get too many open looks on the interior if the backcourt play doesn't improve. CMU will be a contender in the MAC once its young talent matures, but it will have to wait before it achieves a victory over an established mid-major program like Bradley.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bradley 78, Central Michigan 67
11/12 10:33:33 ET