The men’s basketball team returns to McGuirk Arena at 7 p.m. today for its official home opener against Olivet College in search of its first regular-season victory under head coach Keno Davis.
Central Michigan lost the opener to Iowa 73-61 Monday and will be looking to rebound against the Division III Comets of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
OC’s offense is similar to CMU’s in that it wants to run an up-tempo offense and lacks in size.
“They’re not very big, but they’re going to play hard,” freshman guard Chris Fowler said. “We have to match their level of intensity and (bring) the same intensity we brought to the Iowa game.”
Many Division I teams begin their season with lower division teams, and CMU is no different.
Much like the Chippewas getting a chance to play No. 5 Michigan at Crisler Arena, they are giving a smaller Michigan school a chance to play in a Division I arena.
“We looked at the local area teams and wanted to give them the opportunity to be able to come in and play us, much like we want the opportunity to play top-20 teams,” head coach Keno Davis said. “To play a non-Division I team at home will give our fans a chance to see our team at an early time.”
During the Iowa game, Davis showed exactly how up-tempo he wanted to play.
Within the first five minutes of the game, Davis had already used nine different players on the floor.
“In our system, if you play three minutes as hard as you can, you should be tired,” Fowler said. “We play such an up-tempo game, we press and we run, and we’re playing as hard as we can for those three minutes.”
Davis said it was one run midway through the second half that helped the Hawkeyes seal the deal, and Fowler said he believes CMU can’t let those runs happen for a chance to have a successful season.
“We have to sustain intensity for 40 minutes,” Fowler said. “There was a time in the second half of the Iowa game where we tied it and then took two or three plays off and they made shots. We can’t do that if we want to be a good team.”
With a Division III team coming into McGuirk Arena, there is no doubt the Chippewas will be a large favorite, but Davis is not just looking for the first official tally in the win column.
“We’re out there to win a basketball game and give fans an early opportunity to see the team, (which) will help build our momentum,” Davis said. “We’re trying to build our crowd and our student section.”