COLUMN: Men's basketball's interesting season start

It has been an interesting start to the men’s basketball season to say the least.

Only five games into the season and this team has already shown that it’s much better than expected going into the season.

As a ‘townie,’ I remember the 2005-06 season when head coach Jay Smith led Central Michigan to a 4-24 overall recorded and a 1-17 record in Mid-American Conference play, which resulted in Smith’s resignation.

With a totally revamped team, I didn’t expect things to be that dire, but not a whole lot better.

I expected the Chippewas to get blown out in Iowa to open the season, and why would I expect anything more?

Head coach Keno Davis said after the Lake Superior State exhibition game that he didn’t think his team was close to being ready to play the Hawkeyes in a Big Ten environment.

But lo and behold, CMU only lost by 12 and hung in with what many analysts believed heading into the season was an Iowa team that could be dancing in March.

Next up was the home-opener versus Division III Olivet College. After starting the game down 9-0, the Chippewas went on a 32-2 run to take a big lead but were out-rebounded by what is probably the only team CMU will outsize all season. CMU was able to survive the Comets and get its first win.

Next up was a road trip to Utah for a Thanksgiving Tournament. The Chippewas drew Wright State first – a team that has had the Chippewas number for the last three season.

But for the first time in the season, CMU out-rebounded its opponents, and by double-digits no less. Clutch plays late in the game by freshmen Blake Hibbitts and Derrick Richardson Jr. earned the team the 59-55 victory.

Riding a two-game winning streak, the team's shooting fell flat against the host Utes, shooting just 25.9 percent and went 10 minutes in the first half without scoring a single point.

They didn’t shoot all that well in the tournament-ending game against Idaho State, but another strong effort on the boards helped give CMU a second-place finish in the tournament with a 54-52 last second win.

I thought, after this holiday tournament, we’d have a better understanding of the Chippewas.

Turns out I was wrong.

It’s still much too early to tell where this season will go, but a strong tournament showing and winning-record coming home to Mt. Pleasant is always a positive.

The team (3-2) will host Bradley University at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at McGuirk Arena.

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