Western Michigan (8-5) at Miami-Ohio (9-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Millett Hall (6,400) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: WMU 6-1, Miami 3-1. Away Record: WMU 0-4, Miami 2-6. Neutral Record: WMU 2-0, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: WMU 1-0, Miami 1-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 81-41.
GAME NOTES: With both teams coming off wins in their respective league openers, the Western Michigan Broncos and the Miami-Ohio RedHawks will settle their differences in a Mid-American Conference clash at Millett Hall.
The Broncos had a rather easy time dispatching Toledo on Wednesday in their MAC debut, earning an 87-76 victory. The win was the third straight for Western Michigan, which is now 8-5 overall, although it has lost all four bouts away from Kalamazoo. Another chance to improve on the road presents itself on Tuesday against Eastern Michigan.
For Miami-Ohio, the conference opener yielded a 77-70 road victory over Central Michigan. The victory was the third in the last four games for the RedHawks, who are also holding on to an overall record above .500 (9-7), which includes a 3-1 mark at home. They will not have much time on campus though, as they visit Akron and Ball State in their next two outings.
Western Michigan visited Millett Hall last season in the only meeting between the teams, and the Broncs captured a 72-68 victory to notch their third straight win over Miami. However, the RedHawks still hold a commanding 81-41 advantage in the all-time series.
Connar Tava sank all nine of shots from the floor and finished with a game- high 25 points in Western Michigan's win over Toledo. The Broncos nailed 60.4 percent of their field goal attempts, as they scored at least 80 points for a third straight time.
The Broncos are normally a more modest offensive group, ranking third in the MAC in scoring (73.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (.448). Tava (12.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has been extremely reliable as a scorer from his spot in the frontcourt, as he is knocking down an impressive 62.2 percent of his attempts from the floor, which is good enough to rank second in the MAC in field goal percentage. David Brown is the real scorer on the team though, leading the MAC with his 18.4 ppg. Shayne Whittington (14.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is another solid performer, but his ability to clean the glass is perhaps more vital.
Will Sullivan and Geovonie McKnight each scored 17 points to pace Miami-Ohio in its victory over Central Michigan. The RedHawks forced 17 turnovers in the game and traded those in for 20 points. They also had a 36-28 scoring edge in the paint.
The RedHawks are a team for which scoring is a real struggle most of the time. They are only producing 65.9 ppg, which has them ranked 10th in the MAC. Gaining control on the boards is another weak point, as Miami is actually last in the league in rebounding (32.3 rpg). Will Felder (14.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the most consistent offensive threat on the roster, and he is a 52.1 percent shooter from the field. Felder finished with 15 points and eight rebounds against Central Michigan. McKnight (11.2 ppg) is the club's second option in terms of scoring, and Quinten Rollins (6.6 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.5 spg) makes an impact in other areas beyond putting points on the board.
On paper, the Broncos are the better team in this bout, except for their weakness on the road. If the RedHawks can get in a groove early and put the pressure on WMU to fight back in a hostile environment, they should be able to pick up the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 69, Western Michigan 63
01/11 12:08:07 ET