After a 91-73 loss at Buffalo Wednesday night, the men’s basketball team is in need of a win to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Chippewas return home Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip with Miami (Ohio) as both teams enter the game at 2-5 in the Mid-American Conference.
Not only are their records identical, their statistics mirror each other.
They are both in the middle of the pack in scoring offense with CMU at No. 5 at 67.1 points per game, while the RedHawks are at No. 8 with 65.1 points per game.
But both defenses are nearly non-existent.
They each rank at the bottom the MAC in scoring defense, with the Chippewas latest game pushing them below Miami by giving up an average of 70.6 points per game. The RedHawks are barely ahead of CMU at 70.4 points per game.
Neither team has been a force on the boards. Miami is the worst rebounding team in the MAC, as its been out-rebounded this season by an average of 7.1 per game, while the Chippewas are ranked No. 8 in rebounding, giving up an average of 2.4 boards per game.
If there is one thing these two teams excel at, it’s ball control.
Junior guard Quinten Rollins has led the RedHawks offense by taking care of the ball.
Miami averages 13.2 assists per game, with 4.3 coming from Rollins.
The RedHawks defense might give up points and not crash the boards, but they pressure as they lead the MAC with 9.4 steals per game.
Who else is leading the steals but Rollins, who ranks second in the MAC with 2.2 per game, giving Miami the second-highest turnover margin, forcing 2.47 more turnovers than it gives up per game.
Freshman guard Chris Fowler will be the one up to the challenge.
Fowler is looking to crack the top-10 this season in assists in a single season. He has 101 assists, giving him 5.1 per game, good for fourth in the MAC, and he needs 30 to be tied with Peter Lambropoulos (1983-84) and Ryan Jansen (1995-96).
Fowler also has the fifth-best assist-to-turnover ratio, averaging two assists for every turnover, leading CMU to the third-best turnover ration in the MAC.
One more similarity comes from the bench.
Both teams have first-year head coaches.
John Cooper is in his first season as the head coach of the RedHawks after a strong season as the head coach at Tennessee State, where he led the Tigers to wins against Murray State, Miami (Fla.) and South Carolina and just missed out on a NCAA Tournament berth.
Before his time at TSU, he was an assistant at Auburn, Oregon and South Carolina.
Leading the Chippewas into the game is Keno Davis, who was the 2008 AP Coach of the Year while at Drake and coached Providence to an upset win against then No. 1 Pittsburgh.
The key to the game will come down to ball control.
Will Fowler be able to protect the ball from Miami’s pressure defense, or will that pressure be too much?