Men’s basketball will be spending Thanksgiving in Salt Lake City for the University of Utah’s Thanksgiving Tournament that will include Wright State and Idaho State.
The four-team tournament will go from Wednesday to Saturday and will feature the host Utes of the Pacific 12 Conference, the Raiders of the Horizon League, and the Bengals of the Big Sky Conference.
“In our scheduling, we thought one thing; that it would be beneficial to be able to experience tournament play,” head coach Keno Davis said. “It’ll help us prepare for quality teams on a neutral court and also to prepare in the short term.”
Central Michigan will start the tournament at 6 p.m. today when it takes on WSU.
The Raiders come into the game undefeated by knocking off Idaho, Eastern Illinois and North Carolina A & T.
There will be a break for Thanksgiving on Thursday and then the Chippewas will be back on the court at 7 p.m. on Friday to play the host Utah.
CMU will finish the tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday when they play ISU, who has yet to win in its first two games.
“It’s so early in the year, even though you are starting to get tape and statistics, you have to prepare for the unexpected,” Davis said. “Our guys are picking up on the scouting reports and they know we’ll have to make game-time adjustments.”
One thing Davis would like to see adjusted is his team’s rebounding effort. In the 76-62 victory over Olivet College, CMU was out-rebounded 47-33 with 17 of those 47 boards coming from the offensive side of the floor.
The Chippewas will have to bring more intensity to the boards if they hope to leave Utah with a win or more.
“We’re still looking for combinations of players on the court in our rotation,” Davis said. “A lot of it comes down to the fundamentals of being in the right position and then having that intensity.”
With only two regular-season games under its belt, it’s tough to say what to expect from this young CMU team.
You could get the team that showed up in Iowa City as a 22-point underdog and make a game out of it, or the team that was out-rebounded by a Division III school last week.
“I really don’t know what to expect from the other teams, let alone ours,” Davis said. “With so many unknown players and young guys, what I’m looking for is too make sure we play at the same level we’re practicing at.”