Preview: Men's basketball hosts rival Western Michigan

Senior guard Shawn Roundtree calls a play against Eastern Michigan University on Jan. 29 in McGuirk Arena.

Central Michigan men’s basketball is fresh off a victory over Eastern Michigan and now seeks another in-state win.

For the 141st time, the Chippewas (15-6, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) square off with rival Western Michigan (6-14, 0-7 MAC) at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at McGuirk Arena.

The Broncos last opponent was also EMU, falling 93-67 in Kalamazoo. It was the seventh consecutive loss for WMU, who is winless since the start of the new year.  

The last time these teams met, CMU defeated Western Michigan 84-71 in an empty gym at Northwood University last March due to on-campus lockdown in Mount Pleasant. This time, CMU will have a true homecourt advantage.

CMU currently stands at third place in the MAC West Division, just one game behind Northern Illinois and Toledo, which are tied for first. 

"This team has been tough to be upset with because they play so hard," said Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis. "They really came together off of those two losses and had a focus even in practice in execution, not just the effort." 

This is the first game senior guard Larry Austin Jr. goes against Western Michigan. Austin leads the Chippewas and ranks fifth in the MAC in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game. He also ranks first in the MAC with 5.7 assists per game and second in steals, averaging 2.3.

Shawn Roundtree Jr. is second among CMU players and tenth in the MAC in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game. Roundtree leads the conference in free throws made with 107 and is sixth in the conference with a 78.7 free-throw percentage. 

Austin and Roundtree’s combined 33 points per game make them the second leading scoring backcourt in the country. The Chippewas lead the MAC in scoring, averaging 84.7 points per game. 

Scouting WMU

The month of January was not kind to Western Michigan in terms of overall record. The Broncos are 0-7 to begin MAC play, losing three by double digits. 

WMU is led by senior center Seth Dugan who is tied for the team lead, averaging 15.6 points per game. He also leads Western Michigan in rebounds and ranks fourth in the MAC, averaging 8.8 per game. 

After averaging 26 points and 12.5 rebounds in two games last week, Dugan was named MAC West Division Co-Player of the Week. 

Sophomore guard Michael Flowers also averages 15.6 points per game. In addition to scoring, Flowers also leads the Broncos in assists, averaging 3.5 per game.