Preview: Keno Davis revisits broadcasting past, Chippewas take on DePaul

Head coach Keno Davis stares down the court as his team takes free throws on March 15 in Quicken Loans Arena.

Keno Davis has been to the College Basketball Invitational before receiving an invite to the 2019 tournament with the Central Michigan men’s basketball team.

However, it wasn’t as a coach. It was as a broadcaster.

Davis was the main color commentator for Mark Cuban’s HDNet during the 2012 CBI. In 2010-11, Davis was the head coach at Providence but was fired following the campaign. He got a call to broadcast the 2012 CBI and accepted it.

While Washington State was playing Pittsburgh in the best-of-three championship series, Davis took a flight between game two and three to New Orleans. During the trip he met with former CMU Athletic Director Dave Heeke for CMU’s head coaching position.

Ultimately, Davis took the job and, since 2012, has been the head coach for the Chippewas.

“I got the chance to call games in the gyms of Evansville, Hinkle, Butler, The Palestra and of course Washington State and Pittsburgh,” Davis said. “I got to see some really talented teams and great coaches. I was looking to get back into coaching still so I was keeping an open eye of watching coaches prepare for a really good tournament.”

It wasn’t Davis’ first time around the block with broadcasting. He had also spent time with the Big Ten Network due to his past of being a undergraduate assistant under his father, Tom Davis, at Iowa. 

Davis has no idea if he will ever put on the headset again. Right now, he is concerned about winning in the 2019 CBI.

“I’m aware of the talented teams and competitive nature,” Davis said. “I’m appreciative for the invite to be able to experience the postseason with this group.”

The Chippewas (23-11, 10-8 MAC) are slotted to take on DePaul (15-15, 7-11 Big East) at 8 p.m. on March 20 in Chicago, Illinois at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The Blue Demons we’re tied for last in the Big East with Providence and Butler, but had key RPI boosting wins. The most notable would be Seton Hall who is a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

DePaul is the 6.5-point favorite in the matchup. It will essentially be a home game for the Blue Demons who normally play at Wintrust Arena right down the road.

Senior guard Larry Austin Jr. has played in the Big East at one of his previous schools Xavier (2014-16). 

“I’ve never played in a tournament like this but I expect (DePaul) to play hard and physical,” Austin said. “The Big East is known for being physical. So I want to match that and play hard and physical.”

The Blue Demons average 76.9 points per game while the Chippewas 82.6 points per game. Austin and senior guard Shawn Roundtree Jr. lead the scoring for CMU with a combined 34 points per game.

DePaul’s senior guard Max Strus averages 18.8 points per game to lead the team, making it a good battle in the backcourt. 

Roundtree said he hasn’t played in a tournament with this many teams since high school.

“The CIT was a great experience (last year) to travel and have fun,” Roundtree said. “We just want to keep it going and have more experiences with your family and brothers.”

The winner of CMU and DePaul will take on either Southern Miss or Longwood University in the quarterfinals on March 25.