CIT brings new preparation, experience to men's basketball

Central Michigan senior forward Cecil Williams surveys the court against Western Michigan on Feb. 20 at University Arena.

The Postseason Tournament has presented a different feel for the Central Michigan men’s basketball team compared to other tournaments.

After winning, the team has had to wait multiple days to find out who they will compete against next — leaving a short amount of time to prepare.

“For our coaching staff, it’s a completely different feel for how we set up days leading into the next (game),” said head coach Keno Davis. “You have to have your guys as fresh as possible while still being prepared. We feel like we are in a good position to head back on the road and play again.

“Honestly, I think everyone is just happy to have the opportunity.”

CMU (21-14) topped Wofford, 98-94, on March 16 and didn't receive notice about it’s game against Liberty (21-14) until late on March 19. They will have had seven days without game action before playing Liberty at 2 p.m. on March 24.

“We never know who we are going to play until even two days prior, it’s way different than the season,” said transfer guard Shawn Roundtree. “Our guys have done a good job of just being ready and rolling with the flow.”

Senior guard Josh Kozinski said he feels the journey has been different as a senior.

“We are blessed to have this opportunity to play in the postseason and do take it very serious,” Kozinski said. “However, if you're not trying to have fun and get better, there isn't much of a point to it. I think we are learning that everyday through this tournament.”

The win over Fort Wayne in the opening round of the CIT marked CMU’s first postseason win since 2003 in the NCAA Tournament over Creighton.

Davis said the seniors on the team earned this tournament.

“It’s something they will always remember about their college (basketball) experience,” Davis said. “I think going on the road and winning with your back against the wall means even more than winning at home sometimes.”

Senior forward Cecil Williams said there is a major difference in competition.

“A lot of the different offenses is what I’ve noticed so far this tournament,” Williams said. “A lot of MAC teams have some really big and long players, and some people in this tournament have more shooters. I haven't seen one really dominate big against the teams we’ve played so far.”

Including Saturday’s game, CMU could still have a maximum of three games remaining if they win out. The semifinals are scheduled for March 28 and the championship game is on March 30.

Kozinski said the Chippewas just have to keep taking the process one day at a time.

“I always say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” Kozinski said. “You don’t know what is going to happen everyday. It’s about handling adversity and being ready for whatever is next has really helped me grow.”