The Central Michigan men’s basketball team will have no time to waste once conference play gets underway in January.
In its league schedule released Saturday, CMU begins the Mid-American Conference season on Jan. 6 against rival Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. The rivalry shifts to Mount Pleasant on March 4 when the Chippewas host the Broncos in their final game of the regular season.
Both teams split their regular season meetings last year, with WMU knocking CMU out of the Mid-American Conference tournament in March.
“There won’t be any problem with us being focused to start the conference play,” said CMU head coach Ernie Zeigler. “Whenever you get the opportunity to open up against one of your arch-rivals, it always brings more intrigue to that match up. With both teams really anticipating starting conference play, you can’t ask for much more.”
The new Events Center will host its first MAC game on Jan. 9 when Toledo travels to Mount Pleasant. The Rockets finished 4-28 overall and 1-15 in the MAC last season and named Tod Kowalczyk head coach in the off season after personal issues forced Gene Cross to resign.
CMU plays a crucial stretch of games at the end of January into early February against MAC East foes Akron, Ohio and Kent State. All three beat the Chippewas last season and could very well determine which way the season goes for a young CMU team.
Zeigler said the team’s games at Kent State and Buffalo on Feb. 5 and 8, respectively, will be one of the toughest road trips of the season.
“Every conference game is going to be important, but when you get to cross division play with tiebreakers that come into play, they become really significant,” he said. “Hopefully we can fare much better playing those tough foes.”
The annual ESPN BracketBuster game is scheduled for Feb. 19.
The Chippewas open the regular season with the Rainbow Classic on Nov. 12 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their last game of the tournament, Nov. 14 against Hawaii, will be shown live on ESPN at 4 a.m. as part of the network’s 24-hour college basketball marathon.
Women open against WMU, play four-game home stretch
The CMU women’s team will also open its Mid-American Conference schedule against Western Michigan, traveling to Kalamazoo to play the Broncos on Jan. 5. The Chippewas host WMU on Feb. 19 at the CMU Events Center.
The program’s annual “Recess in Rose” event, which attracts thousands of area local elementary and middle school students and set the Rose Arena attendance record last season, has been set for Jan. 26 against Buffalo. A new name will more than likely have to be determined.
One of the highlights of the team’s schedule is a four-game homestand toward the end of the season against Kent State, Western Michigan, Ball State and Eastern Michigan.
2010-11 CMU Men’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 3 Marygrove, 7 p.m. (exhibition game, at Mount Pleasant High School)
Rainbow Classic (Honolulu, Hawaii)
*Nov. 12 Cal State-Fullerton, TBA
*Nov. 13 Montana State, TBA
*Nov. 15 Hawaii, 4 a.m. (ESPN)
Nov. 20 at South Alabama, 7 p.m.
Nov. 24 at Illinois-Chicago, 8 p.m.
Dec. 1 Temple, 7 p.m.
Dec. 5 at DePaul, TBA
Dec. 11 at LSU, TBA
Dec. 14 Wright State, 7 p.m.
Dec. 18 Detroit-Mercy, 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 South Dakota State, 7 p.m.
Dec. 22 Cornerstone, 7 p.m.
Dec. 30 at UNLV, TBA
Jan. 9 at Western Michigan
Jan. 12 Toledo
Jan. 15 at Ball State
Jan. 20 Northern Illinois
Jan. 23 at Eastern Michigan
Jan. 27 Miami (OH)
Jan. 30 at Akron
Feb. 2 Ohio
Feb. 5 at Kent State
Feb. 8 at Buffalo
Feb. 12 Bowling Green
Feb. 16 Eastern Michigan
Feb. 19 ESPN BracketBuster (location TBA)
Feb. 23 at Northern Illinois
Feb. 26 vs. Ball State
Mar. 1 at Toledo
Mar. 4 Western Michigan
(tipoff for all MAC games are TBA)
2010-11 CMU Women’s Basketball Schedule
(all tipoff times are TBA unless otherwise noted)
Winthrop Tournament (Rock Hill, S.C.):
*Nov. 12 North Carolina A & T
*Nov. 14 Belmont or Winthrop
Iowa Tournament (Iowa City, Iowa):
*Nov. 20 Northeastern
*Nov. 21 Iowa or Northern Colorado
Northern Arizona Tournament (Flagstaff, Ariz.):
*Nov. 26 Drake
*Nov. 27 Northern Arizona or Binghamton
Evansville (Ind.) Tournament:
*Dec. 3 Coastal Carolina
*Dec. 4 Evansville or Valparaiso
Dec. 11 at Northwestern
Dec. 18 Mississippi, 2 p.m.
Dec. 22 Wichita State, 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Jan. 5 at Western Michigan
Jan. 8 Northern Illinois
Jan. 12 at Eastern Michigan
Jan. 15 at Ball State
Jan. 19 Toledo
Jan. 22 at Bowling Green
Jan. 26 Buffalo
Jan. 29 Akron
Feb. 2 at Miami
Feb. 5 at Ohio
Feb. 12 Kent State
Feb. 19 Western Michigan
Feb. 23 Ball State
Feb. 26 Eastern Michigan
Mar. 2 at Toledo