Central Michigan (11-18) at Western Michigan (18-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: SportsTime Ohio. Home Record: CMU 6-6, WMU 10-2. Away Record: CMU 2-11, WMU 6-9. Neutral Record: CMU 3-1, WMU 2-0. Conference Record: CMU 4-11, WMU 9-6. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 83-46.
GAME NOTES: The Central Michigan Chippewas aim for the third win in a row to close out the 2012-13 regular season as they visit University Arena for a Mid- American Conference tilt against the Western Michigan Broncos.
This will be the second meeting of the season between these schools. The Broncos downed CMU, 76-59, in Mount Pleasant on Jan. 26 in the inaugural encounter as they hot 46 percent from the field and limited the Chippewas to 29.8 percent efficiency from the floor.
Keno Davis's Chippewas won their second consecutive game after a 10-game slide on Tuesday as they clipped Eastern Michigan, 61-59. Outscored 34-16 in the paint, the Chippewas found their outside shot to be falling as they hit 7- of-14 from three-point range in the first half and added another pair of threes in the second. Kyle Randall hit 6-of-11 from long range for 18 of his game-high 23 points. Blake Hibbitts joined Randall and Olivier Mbaigoto (14) in double- digits with 13. Chris Fowler, who entered the game as the country's second- leading freshman in assists per game, set a McGuirk Arena record with his 10 assists and was charged with just one turnover.
The Chippewas have been unable to pick up many wins this season despite the solid play of Randall. The UNC Greensboro transfer averaged just 5.7 ppg as a Spartan in 2011-12 before transferring to the Mid-American Conference to net 17.8 ppg. Unfortunately the 5-foot-10 guard has not had much help as Hibbitts is a distant second in the scoring column with 8.9 ppg. CMU is a slightly better than par unit offensively in the MAC with an average of 67.3 ppg, but it has the worst scoring defense in the 12-team league with an allowed average of 71.8 ppg.
Although they have lost their last two games, the Broncos have already locked themselves into the No. 3 seed in the MAC Tournament and can clinch the West Division crown with another victory. Coach Steve Hawkins has seen solid play on both ends of the floor by his Broncos, who are sixth in the conference in scoring (67.0) and third in scoring defense (63.4).
WMU found itself in a shootout its last time out but eventually dropped an 89-85 decision to Ball State. Shayne Whittington had a double-double (28 points, 12 rebounds), Austin Richie netted 15 points and David Brown chipped in 11 points off the bench for Western Michigan. The team was outrebounded, 42-33, and outscored at the foul line, 35-18, in the setback. Whittington paces the team in both scoring (12.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.8 rpg), while Darius Paul (10.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Nate Hutcheson (10.4 ppg) and Brown (10.7 ppg) all provide additional scoring options.
The Chippewas' current win streak consists of a win over Northern Illinois and an EMU squad that is quite weak on the road. WMU is struggling against good teams, but it should bounce back against CMU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 75, Central Michigan 65
03/09 10:37:57 ET