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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 10, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Newman Arena (4,473) -- Ithaca, New York. Television: . Home Record: WMU 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Away Record: WMU 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Neutral Record: WMU 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Conference Record: WMU 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Western Michigan Broncos step onto an Ivy League campus for the first time in program history as they tip-off their 2012-2013 season versus the Cornell Big Red at Newman Arena.
The Broncos were expecting to have a strong season after sporting a team filled with seniors in 2011-2012. However, WMU failed to capitalize on its experienced lineup and finished six games below .500 and 6-10 in Mid-American Conference games. Coach Steve Hawkins has a very new looking lineup which features eight freshman. Hawkins has been one of the most successful coaches in the conference since taking over the program. Western Michigan has won five MAC West titles and won 159 games in nine seasons under his reign.
Cornell has had a difficult time climbing back up to its pedestal in the Ivy League. After winning three straight conference championships from 2008-2010, the Big Red have gone 22-34 in the two season's Bill Courtney has been steering the ship. Cornell has been very good in season-openers in recent years, winning six of its past seven. It has a program record of 31-32 versus schools from the MAC.
This will be the first-ever meeting between these schools on the basketball court.
WMU's rebuilding process will feature eight freshmen, including forward Darius Paul (6-8, 220), whose brother Brandon is a standout for Illinois. The Broncos will rely on their only returning starter, Nate Hutcheson (9.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg) to set the tone with his mid-range and post-up ability on the offensive end. Point guard Austin Richie can make plays when given the chance. He averaged 9.4 ppg in games he started last season as a freshman. Shayne Whittington (6-10, 220) plays a vital role in the middle for WMU and could be the x-factor in games due to his defensive presence.
Cornell has some big shoes to replace with the program's all-time assists leader Chris Wroblewski, Drew Ferry, and Anthony Gatlin gone. The reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year Shonn Miller (8.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.7 bpg) is going to have to take control of the team in his second year in Ithaca. Errick Peck's return is highly anticipated. Peck missed all of last season with an injury after ranking second on the team in scoring the prior year. Senior Eitan Chemerinski brings experience in the middle. The Big Red need Johnathan Gray (8.8 ppg) and Miles Asafo-Adjei (2.0 apg) to play well out of the backcourt if they are going to fend off the Broncos.
This should be a close matchup between these non-conference foes. Cornell has experience and a very specific motion offense which could frustrate the Broncos. Western Michigan's freshmen class will have little time to adjust to the faster paced collegiate game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cornell 64, Western Michigan 59
11/10 10:32:53 ET
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