Northern Illinois (13-15) at Western Michigan (19-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 4, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: NIU 8-7, WMU 12-2. Away Record: NIU 5-8, WMU 5-7. Neutral Record: NIU 0-0, WMU 2-0. Conference Record: NIU 7-9, WMU 12-4. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 54-29.
GAME NOTES: Northern Illinois is on the road for the last time during the 2013-14 regular-season, as the Huskies challenge the Western Michigan Broncos in Mid-American Conference play at University Arena.
The Huskies are in the middle of the pack in the West Division of the MAC, sporting a 7-9 league mark after losing to Eastern Michigan over the weekend, 56-52, on the road. The team has now alternates wins and loses in the last eight games.
As for the Broncos, they entered the week tied with Toledo for the top spot in the division, showing a record of 12-4 with this and a meeting against Central Michigan later this week left before the start of the MAC Tournament. On Saturday, WMU was pitted against the Rockets and dropped a 96-85 decision in overtime in Ohio, marking the second straight overtime affair for the Broncos.
Western Michigan won the first meeting of the season last month in DeKalb by a score of 74-71, which means the all-time series now favors the Broncos by a count of 54-29.
Aaric Armstead scored 11 points, but he was the only NIU player in double figures as the team suffered the four-point loss at Eastern Michigan the last time out. The Huskies shot a mere 37.2 percent from the floor and 3-of-14 behind the 3-point line, finishing with just as many turnovers (16) as made field goals in the disappointing effort. The Eagles practically handed the game to NIU as the hosts shot only 32.7 percent from the floor and 3-of-17 on the perimeter, but the Huskies refused to take it.
At this stage of the campaign, the Huskies don't have a single active player scoring in double figures on a regular basis. Still at the top of the scoring list for the program is Dontel Highsmith (10.5 ppg), but his campaign ended early due to knee surgery, which means Darrell Bowie is the top active scorer for the group with 9.6 ppg to go along with his 6.8 rpg.
The Broncos led by as many as 13 points with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation, but the team headed to overtime and then crumbled under the pressure at Toledo. The visitors ended up shooting 53.6 percent from the field, but also turned the ball over 18 times, five miscues each by Connar Tava and Tucker Haymond. Shayne Whittington registered a double-double with 25 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while David Brown posted 29 points and Haymond 14 in the losing cause.
Whittington, who was just named the MAC Player of the Week for the third straight time, is now averaging 16.0 ppg and 9.2 rpg as he shoots 52.5 percent from the field. Brown heads the scoring list overall with 19.3 ppg, whole Tava, who fouled out against Toledo, checks in with another 12.0 ppg and 5.6 rpg as he knocks down an impressive 60.1 percent of his field goal attempts.
The Huskies are not doing themselves any favors with just 28.4 percent shooting behind the 3-point line and an average of 14.6 turnovers per game, numbers that should all but guarantee a win for Western Michigan tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 72, Northern Illinois 56
03/04 10:33:54 ET