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The Gus Macker Tournament may be a place for students to show off their hoops prowess, but this year it is also a venue for event planners to cut their teeth. The tournament will be held from April 30 through May 1 around Finch Fieldhouse and Warriner Hall. All funds generated will be put toward Events Center construction expenses. Registration is open until Monday at midnight, and costs $100 for college-aged teams and $128 for the general public. Groups can register at www.macker.com.
Ernie Zeigler’s 2011-12 class is complete. Well, unofficially. The Central Michigan men’s basketball coach picked up his fourth and expected final scholarship recruit for next season in the form of junior college transfer Olivier Mbaigoto, who gave a verbal commitment to the program Monday according to scouting websites Rivals and Scout.
Sports Editor Aaron McMann and Senior Reporter Andrew Stover sat down with Central Michigan men’s basketball head coach Ernie Zeigler last week to talk about last season, the status of the program, what needs to be happen next season and much more. Here is Part 2 of the interview:
It never was going to happen. Not this year, anyway. Ernie Zeigler never was going to be fired. His status as head coach of Central Michigan’s men’s basketball team is firm. His support remains strong, speaking internally, of course. His job is not in jeopardy. But should it be?
Central Michigan Athletics Director Dave Heeke said this week he is committed to men’s basketball coach Ernie Zeigler despite a disappointing 10-21 season. Zeigler signed a four-year contract extension prior to the season. He also successfully recruited his son Trey, the most highly-coveted recruit CMU has ever brought in, prior to the season. But that didn’t equate to any extra wins in the 2010-11 season.
The Kent State men’s basketball team is heading to the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament after it beat Fairfield 72-68 Sunday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The Golden Flashes (25-11) were up 66-58 with 4:19 remaining, but the Stags failed to quit.
Project 989 ep.
You could see it on Ernie Zeigler’s face as he sat down to field questions from the media. His answers were short, and he was more guarded – even more so than after his team’s second-half collapse against Ball State a week earlier. All Central Michigan needed to host an opening round game in the Mid-American Conference tournament was to win, or have Buffalo beat a struggling Bowling Green team.
Call it judgment day. With the regular season winding down for teams in the Mid-American Conference, this weekend is crucial in determining division titles and tournament seeding. For both, look no further than Saturday’s game between the Central Michigan men’s basketball team and in-state rival Western Michigan.
While a win Saturday against Western Michigan can go a long way in determining Central Michigan’s seeding in next week’s Mid-American Conference tournament, another league game will help determine the team’s opponent. Buffalo will play Bowling Green at 1 p.m. Saturday at Anderson Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio, and the winner will have great importance in CMU’s fate, especially if the Chippewas lose.
Western Michigan will be without one of its top scorers in one of its biggest games of the season this weekend. The Mid-American Conference handed WMU junior forward Flenard Whitfield a one-game suspension Thursday, forcing him to miss Saturday's game against CMU.
One moment Josh Merryman is dancing with the cheer team on the sidelines and the next he’s holding his oversized cardboard phone to a spectator’s ear, urging them to answer it. Merryman is the guy walking on his hands, tossing tightly wrapped T-shirts into the crowd and riding an unusually small tricycle onto the court of McGuirk Arena during basketball games.
Jesse Berry was struggling coming into Saturday’s game against CMU. Ball State’s freshman point guard, who was averaging around eight points per game, was held scoreless in the team’s previous two games, a loss against Wofford and win at Eastern Michigan. Berry’s slump looked to continue in the first half Saturday at McGuirk Arena. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder did not score after attempting three shots.
Inexplicably, Central Michigan has a chance. Not a good chance, but the men’s basketball team has a semblance of a shot. Somehow, against the odds and despite the record it has and the criticism it has received, CMU is just two games back of the Mid-American Conference West Division lead. Ball State and Western Michigan share the lead at this point, each at 8-5. And surely, Ball State controls it’s own destiny, with tiebreakers in hand. But CMU gave itself a chance Wednesday night in DeKalb, Ill.
Loss. Win. Loss. Win.
Central Michigan has four regular season games remaining, and it’s not hard to figure out which two it likely will lose. It shouldn’t be hard. The men’s basketball team is terrible away from McGuirk Arena. It is the kind of terrible that only a record could describe. CMU is 1-12 on the road. Including neutral sites, you’re looking at a 2-13 team away from home.
A few positives were masked the first time Central Michigan played Eastern Michigan on Jan. 23.
An ugly 41-38 CMU loss in which the men’s basketball team shot a season-low 23.3 percent and an even worse 13.3 percent in the first half took attention away from junior forward Andre Coimbra’s first career double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds).
More importantly, CMU coach Ernie Zeigler will have to find a way to replicate the other positive: The way CMU defended EMU forward Brandon Bowdry. The two teams meet again at 7:30 tonight at McGuirk Arena, as CMU (7-17, 4-7 MAC) resumes Mid-American Conference West Division play.
The CMU women’s basketball team had four players in double-figures Saturday, helping lead it to a 74-62 victory against Akron at McGuirk Arena.
Senior Kaihla Szunko led all scorers with 25 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.