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January 22, 2013

Game Preview & Predictions: Eastern Michigan

Game Information

Eastern Michigan Eagles (9-9, 2-2) at Western Michigan Broncos (10-7, 2-2)
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Venue: University Arena
Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m.
All-time series record: WMU leads 54-47

Broadcast Information
Radio: Bronco Radio Network
Announcer: Robin Hook
Stations: WKZO - 96.5 FM: (Flagship) Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan; WMAX - 96.1 FM: Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon; WVIC - 94.1 FM: Lansing, Jackson, Battle Creek
Pre-game: Begins at 6:30 p.m.

Rob Murphy's record at EMU: 23-27 (2nd season)
Steve Hawkins' record at Western Michigan: 169-139 (10th season)

Additional Information

- The Broncos are 16-4 against Eastern Michigan under head coach Steve Hawkins, including just one home loss (last season) in nine seasons.

- Nate Hutcheson started his 102nd game for the Broncos on Saturday, tying Mike Seberger for sixth on the career starts list.

- The Broncos allowed just 34 points against Northern Illinois on Jan. 19, the lowest single-game total since November 27, 1948, in a win over Olivet (WMU 53, Olivet 33).

- The Broncos' win over Northern Illinois on Jan. 19 represented the largest margin of victory over a D-I opponent since the Broncos
defeated Central Michigan 84-39 in the 2004-05 season.

- Shayne Whittington recorded his fifth double-double of the year against Toledo, posting 12 points and 13 rebounds. Whittington's five double-doubles ties the most for a Bronco since Joe Reitz had six during the 2007-08 season.

- David Brown is averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench this season, including a career-high 15 points against Toledo and
13 points against Northern Illinois. Brown is 7-of-11 (.636) from beyond the three-point line in his last two games, in which he averaged 14.0 points per game.

- Darius Paul leads all freshmen in the MAC in scoring (11.0 ppg) and rebounds (6.1 rpg).

Staff Predictions

Brian Persky: It's not so much Eastern Michigan's zone defense that worries me, but rather the amount of inexperienced Broncos that will be facing it for pretty much the first time. I expect Coach Hawkins to give the freshmen in particular a very short leash on Wednesday if they show any signs of hesitation or indecisiveness.

Although I can't say that I'm crazy about this match-up, I do feel that the Broncos are the better team both offensively and defensively. And at home, that should be enough to get the job done. Breaking 100 points in this game would be an accomplishment. Look for another big game out of David Brown and possibly Brandon Pokely

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 56, Eastern Michigan 51

David James: EMU's zone could give the Broncos, who aren't a great outside shooting team, some issues. That said, David Brown's quick release could really help and WMU's ability to hit the offensive glass could shine.

Bottom line is, Western Michigan has no excuse to drop any home MAC West games this year and my bet is Wednesday won't be the one. Eagles control the pace, but the Broncos outlast them.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 57, Eastern Michigan 50

D.J. Duckett: WMU really stepped up their game in their last contest and I believe that will carry over to their home contest with EMU.

Shayne Whittington will continue to build his game as the year goes on and his defense will be crucial for the Broncos in this game. I don't particularly like this match-up, but I think that WMU is on the verge of going on a run so I have to pick the victory.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 60, Eastern Michigan 54

Brandon Fitzsimons: Ready for a snooze fest? With WMU's defense and EMU's zone, this game could finish in the low 50's easily. I think the Broncos will struggle to score all night against the zone and EMU wins a squeaker.

Score Prediction: Eastern Michigan 52, Western Michigan 48

Additional Links

Hawkins breaks down less traditional EMU zone ($)

MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette: In the paint: Staying 'active' key for Western Michigan basketball tonight vs. EMU's zone defense

WMU Athletics: Hawk Talk Podcast - 1/22/13

WMU Athletics: Official Game Notes

EMU Athletics: Eastern Hits the Road for In-State Matchup


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