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Western Michigan (12-18) at Central Michigan (9-20)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 2nd, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Western Michigan 10-3, Central Michigan 5-6. Away Record: Western Michigan 2-11, Central Michigan 2-13. Neutral Record: Western Michigan 0-4, Central Michigan 2-1. Conference Record: Western Michigan 6-9, Central Michigan 4-11. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 82-45.
GAMES NOTES: The regular season will come to a conclusion for Western Michigan and Central Michigan when the Broncos and Chippewas collide at McGuirk Arena in a battle of in-state rivals.
Western Michigan is fresh off a devastating 54-53 loss on its home floor to MAC East Division leading Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. The Broncos have now lost three of the last four games and at just 6-9 in conference play can hope for no better than a seventh seed in next week's MAC Tournament.
The Broncos have history on their side in this matchup as Western Michigan has won 82 of 127 total meetings with the Chippewas including a 64-61 win at home earlier this season which runs its current win streak in the series to four games.
Central Michigan is also coming off a loss on Wednesday although the Chippewas were much less competitive as they fell 71-52 to Ball State. The loss was also the third in four games for Central Michigan which is just 4-11 in league play and is already locked into the 11th seed in next week's MAC Tournament.
Western Michigan watched Eastern Michigan's Darrell Lampley put in a layup with just a second left on the clock to give the Eagles the victory on Wednesday. The game was tight throughout and despite dominating inside by outscoring the Eagles 28-14 on points in the paint and holding a 29-25 advantage on the glass, the Broncos couldn't pull out a win.
The Broncos are right in the middle of the conference offensively this season averaging 68.3 points per game which is sixth in the 12-team conference. The Broncos excel on the boards bringing down 37.9 rebounds per game, which is the second best mark in the MAC behind Buffalo although the defense is not as effective in surrendering 70.2 points per game. Western Michigan has four different players averaging in double figures this season but none more than 11.7 ppg. Demetrius Ward is that lead scorer but was held to just five points in the loss to Eastern Michigan. Mike Douglas (11.2 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Flenard Whitfield (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg) carried the team offensively scoring 15 and 14 points, respectively. Douglas had only one assist in the game which was off pace for one of the conference's better passers. Center Matt Stainbrook (11.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) played only 15 minutes and was held scoreless while taking only one shot in the losing effort after he scored in double figures in three straight games.
Central Michigan was terrible offensively and not much better on defense in its 71-52 loss to Ball State on Wednesday. The Chippewas went just 30.4 percent from the floor in the game and allowed the Cardinals to net an impressive 58.1 percent in the losing effort.
Unlike Western Michigan, the Chippewas offense revolves around a single player. Guard Trey Zeigler (16.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is enjoying a very successful sophomore campaign and is currently ranked third in the MAC in scoring after he had 14 points against Ball State. Zeigler has now been in double figures in six straight games after a season-low four points against Buffalo. Derek Jackson (11.2 ppg) had begun to rise as a legitimate second option to Zeigler but had only eight points against Ball State after scoring in double figures in five of the previous six games. Austin McBroom (10.4 ppg) is the third player averaging in double figures, while Andre Coimbra (8.0 ppg. 5.5 rpg) is the primary contributor in the frontcourt.
Western Michigan has been horrendous on the road this season (2-11) and although Central Michigan doesn't have a dominant homecourt advantage with just a 5-6 record at McGuirk Arena, the Chippewas should be able to ride the scoring of Zeigler to a win on the last day of the regular season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 64, Western Michigan 61
03/02 10:33:22 ET
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