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February 26, 2013

Game Preview & Predictions: Toledo

Game Information

Western Michigan Broncos (17-9, 8-4) at Toledo Rockets (13-11, 8-4)
Location: Toledo, OH
Venue: Savage Arena
Wednesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.
All-time series record: Toledo leads 78-56

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 7:30 p.m.

Tod Kowalczyk's record at Toledo: 36-56 (3rd season)
Steve Hawkins' record at Western Michigan: 176-141 (10th season)

Additional Information

- Nate Hutcheson has 1,027 points, placing him in 33rd place on the career scoring list at Western Michigan. This will mark the 127th game played in Hutcheson's career, putting him in sole possession of third place on the career list at WMU.

- Shayne Whittington has eight double-doubles this year, tied for second in the MAC by a single player. Whittington is averaging 14.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in his last five contests. He is the first Bronco with 40+ blocks in a season since Donald Lawson had 47 in 2009-10.

- The Broncos are 14-2 in games in which they shoot better than 40 percent from the field.

Staff Predictions

Brian Persky: The Broncos have struggled on the road, particularly in recent MAC play. In addition to that, they've had their fair share of struggles at Savage Arena in recent history as well. There's no doubt that Toledo has hit its stride, and if there's any consolation to their sanctions, it's finishing the season with the best record in the MAC West. We're beginning to see why the Rockets were the hot preseason pick to win the MAC West.

That being said, the Broncos have had a lot of time to prepare for this one, mentally and physically. After a bit of a mid-season lull, I think the Broncos are beginning to show signs of getting back on track. This might surprise some people, but I'm going with WMU in a game of which I expect them to be slight underdogs.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 74, Toledo 72

David James: Toledo is playing as well as (or better than) anyone in the MAC West right now, and even if they aren't technically eligible to win the division they look like a team on a mission to do just that. Winners of seven of eight, the Rockets haven't dropped a home game in over a month.

Western Michigan, meanwhile, isn't playing poorly but this is hardly their best stretch of basketball of the year. If there's good news for the Broncos, it's the matchup isn't a terrible one. The Broncos blew out Toledo by 23 at University Arena (though that Rocket team was not on the roll they are now) and Nate Hutcheson and David Brown should be able to keep Rian Pearson relatively in check. Nonetheless, it's hard to bet against the Rockets right now.

Score Prediction: Toledo 68, Western Michigan 61

Brandon Fitzsimons: Toledo has been playing great as of late, and the Broncos showed they are still a little tired despite the week off. Toledo gets the home court advantage

Score Prediction: Toledo 78, Western Michigan 64

D.J. Duckett: The Broncos have struggled on the road this season and I see that being the theme in this one. Young guards Austin Richie and Jared Klein with have to play under control and limit the turnovers if WMU wants to have a chance at victory. Ultimately, I see them struggling, and unless David Brown can bail them out with a hot night from behind the 3 point line, they will be in trouble.

Score Prediction: Toledo 71, Western Michigan 67

Additional Links

WMU Athletics: Broncos Return to Conference Play at Toledo

WMU Athletics: Official Game Notes

Toledo Athletics: Toledo to Host WMU on Wednesday in Showdown for First Place in West Division


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