Central Michigan (8-18) at Toledo (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Savage Hall (7,300) -- Toledo, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Central Michigan 4-6, Toledo 6-7. Away Record: Central Michigan 2-11, Toledo 5-6. Neutral Record: Central Michigan 2-1, Toledo 2-1. Conference Record: Central Michigan 3-9, Toledo 4-8. Series Record: Toledo leads 52-33.
GAMES NOTES: The Toledo Rockets will be out for some revenge when the Central Michigan Chippewas come to Savage Hall for a Mid-American Conference rematch.
Central Michigan dominated in an 85-69 victory over Toledo when these squads met earlier this season. The win didn't do much in putting a dent in Toledo's all-time series advantage of 52-33 although the Chippewas have slowly been making inroads with six straight wins against the Rockets.
The Chippewas lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday as part of BracketBuster weekend, but Central Michigan really can't be much happier to be back in league play as the Chippewas have dropped nine of their last 10 games against MAC competition, although they did win in their last matchup against Eastern Michigan. The win against the Eagles puts the Chippewas at 3-9 in conference play which is just a game up on last place Northern Illinois in the MAC West Division.
Toledo has been more successful recently with wins in three of its last four contests including a thrilling 59-58 victory over Sam Houston State in a BracketBuster pairing on Saturday. The Rockets are now a mediocre 13-14 overall while managing just a 4-8 mark in conference play which is tied with Ball State for third in the MAC West Division. up next Toledo will go up against Western Michigan.
It was a low-scoring affair between Central Michigan and Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday, as the Chippewas fell short in a 49-47 decision. Central Michigan shot just 33.3 percent for the game including a paltry 3-of-20 from three point range and couldn't overcome stellar free throw shooting from the Islanders down the stretch.
As would be expected of a team near the bottom of the standings, Central Michigan has not been a very efficient this season, scoring only 61.0 points per game while shooting a dismal 39.0 percent from the floor. Both marks are good for only 10th in the 12-team conference. On defense the Chippewas have had minor success holding their opponents to 66.5 points per game. The team has relied heavily on Trey Zeigler. The sophomore guard is currently fourth in the conference in scoring (15.5 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Zeigler didn't seem to be affected by the scoring woes in the loss Saturday, as he poured in 22 points. Derek Jackson (11.0 ppg) was also unfazed, as he scored 15 points. Freshman guard Austin McBroom (10.5 ppg) is the only other player on the team averaging in double figures, but he didn't see any action on Saturday. The Chippewas also lost Olivier Mbaigoto (7.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg) to an injury in the second half on Saturday.
Toledo barely hung on but came out on the winning end of its matchup with Sam Houston State by shooting 45.3 percent from the floor including 6-of-19 from beyond the arc. The Rockets missed a the first shot of a one-and-one in the waning seconds after being fouled by the Bearkats but didn't allow Sam Houston State to get off a buzzer beat attempt as the Rockets held on.
The Rockets are now scoring an even 70.0 points per game this season while shooting the fourth best percentage from the field (45.1 FG%) in the MAC. Toledo's defensive efforts have mirrored those of its opponent in this matchup as the Rockets allow 66.9 points per game to its opponents. Leading the charge for Toledo is Rian Pearson. The sophomore guard leads the team both in scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg) which are also the second and third best marks, respectively, in the conference. Pearson managed 12 points but struggled from the filed knocking down only 5-of14 shots against Sam Houston State. After Pearson the offense continues to find its scoring in the backcourt with Curtis Dennis (11.8 ppg), Julius Brown (11.5 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Dominique Buckley (10.0 ppg) all averaging in double figures. Sophomore forward Matt Smith (8.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg) has been the only reliable contributor on the front line.
It has been over a month since Central Michigan blew out Toledo and the Rockets have certainly looked like the better team since. With both teams even in terms of defense whichever team can score more effectively will take the victory and with its superior offense Toledo will be able to take the rematch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 70, Central Michigan 63
02/22 10:35:13 ET