Preview: CMU men's basketball brings back toilet paper toss

The Central Michigan men’s basketball team motivates one another before a game against Miami (Ohio) Tuesday, Jan. 23 in McGuirk Arena. (CM-Life | Jo Kenoshmeg)

For the second-straight year, Central Michigan men’s basketball will welcome rival Western Michigan to McGuirk Arena on Saturday with its toilet paper toss tradition.

Last year, CMU brought back the tradition for the 40th anniversary of the first toilet paper toss, and the school decided to bring it back for a second consecutive year.

The game was a huge success for the school that featured a crowd that was over McGuirk Arena’s capacity of 5,300 as there was 5,425 fans in attendance, in a game that ended in a thrilling 70-69 win for the Chippewas.

CMU and WMU have already faced off this year with the Chippewas securing a 62-55 win over the Broncos where Central Michigan led from wire to wire.

This is a big game for both teams as Western Michigan is currently sitting in the eighth spot in the Mid-American conference standings, meaning it would make the MAC tournament at this point in time. For CMU it sits alone in third place with a one game lead over Bowling Green and Ohio.

Meet the opponent

Western Michigan currently sits at 8-16 overall on the season and 5-6 in MAC play. The Broncos are currently on a five-game losing streak that started with its loss to CMU on Jan. 27.

The Broncos started out MAC play 5-2, averaging 80 points a game. Its last five games have been a little different, averaging only 60 points a game and allowing over 75 points a game. 

WMU is led by sophomore guard Seth Hubbard who is averaging 15 points per game. In the first matchup between the two teams, he had a team high 16 points and a game high four, three-pointers made, but shot an abysmal 31% from the field.

Keys to victory

For Central Michigan the main key to the game is to score the ball. The team has struggled to score all season and has the worst offense in the MAC, averaging 66.8 points per game.

One priority for CMU is to get junior guard Anthony Pritchard going early. He has returned from injury over the last two games but has not made the same impact before getting hurt. 

During CMU’s five game win streak (missed game against BGSU with injury), Pritchard was averaging 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. He is only averaging five points, three rebounds and one assist in two games since returning.

Defensively CMU ranks third in the MAC, allowing only 71 points a game. The Chippewas have not allowed a team to score 70 points in regulation since its loss to Ohio on Jan. 16.

If Central Michigan can continue what it has done on the defensive side of the ball and put together a solid night of scoring together, CMU should be able to send the packed crowd home with a win.

The details:

Central Michigan (14-10) versus Western Michigan (8-16)

All-time series: Western Michigan 60-41

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Date: Saturday, Feb. 17

Stadium: McGuirk Arena

Location: Mount Pleasant