January 8, 2011

CMU heads to WMU to open MAC play

Central Michigan (3-10) at Western Michigan (7-6), 2 pm

All-Time Series: Western Michigan leads 86-50



Last Season: (1/16/10) Central Michigan 61, at Western Michigan 70

(2/27/10) Western Michigan 66, at Central Michigan 74

(3/11/10) Western Michigan 69, Central Michigan 60 (MAC Quarters)



Last Time Out: Central Michigan L, 47-73 at UNLV

Western Michigan W, 69-60 vs. Eastern Illinois

Key Stat: Assists Per Game

One of the key issues facing Central Michigan right now isn't a lack of talent; they clearly have it with Trey Zeigler meeting all expectations as a freshman. Rather, the departure of Robbie Harman and Jordan Bitzer left a gaping hole in the team's overall playmaking that no one has stepped up and filled as of yet. The 8.5 assists the Chippewas are averaging per game is the second-worst figure in the country, better only than Alcorn State, a 0-12 team out of the SWAC. By comparison, the Western Michigan assist total of 13.5 a game, planting them firmly in the middle of our league in that category, could be considered robust.

Preview: While some of CMU's losses are excusable - Temple is tough year in and year out and it took Jimmer Fredette dropping 39 to beat UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center - others aren't quite as easy to rationalize. Games at DePaul and LSU both featured strong second-half leads that were squandered and the home loss to Detroit was a complete no-show. With four of the eight regulars in the rotation being seniors, lack of experience isn't the issue. If the offense continues to struggle it will fall on the shoulders of Trey Zeigler and Jalin Thomas, combining for over 30 points per game, to try to resolve those issues and get the Chippewas playing to the level that was expected of them in the preseason.

PREDICTION

Western Michigan: 65
Central Michigan: 60




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