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November 29, 2013

Game preview and staff predictions: Cornell

This will be the second all-time meeting between the Broncos and the Big Red, with Cornell owning a 1-0 advantage in the series. Cornell defeated WMU 63-55 in Ithaca, N.Y. on Nov. 10, 2012, the only previous meeting between the two teams. This will be the first time Cornell has ever played in University Arena.

David Brown leads the MAC in scoring with an average of 22.5 points per game, and has scored 20+ points in four of six games this year. Brown recorded a career-high 31 points in the Broncos' win against Oakland on Tuesday.

The Broncos' 99-88 win over Oakland represented their highest scoring output against a Division I opponent since Dec. 21, 2010, when they lost 102-99 to Troy in overtime. The last time the Broncos scored as many points in a game finished in regulation was on Dec. 22, 1999, when they scored 101 against Marist.

Connar Tava scored a career-high 20 points against Oakland, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the field. Tucker Haymond recorded his first career double-digit scoring performance, notching 13 points against Oakland. This game wraps a four-game homestand for the Broncos; WMU is 2-1 so far at home.


Game Predictions

Brian: For whatever reason, Cornell is nowhere near the level they were at last season when the Broncos went into Ithaca, NY and lost a close one. Graduating senior contributors Johnathan Gray and Errick Peck are no longer with the team, so that could be a big part in it.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Big Red's 0-7 start is that they've been without First Team All-Ivy League selection Shonn Miller. Miller averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.9 steals per game last season before going down with a shoulder injury. That same shoulder has kept him out of all seven contests, and perhaps the remainder of the 2013-2014 season.

Shayne Whittington and the Broncos match up really well against Cornell's undersized front court, as the Bronco guards will have their hands full most of the day. I'm expecting another heavy dose of inside/out basketball for WMU, and they should cruise to an easy win tonight.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 78, Oakland 59

David: What immediately jumps off the page at you is Cornell's 0-7 overall record. And while the Big Red have been generally somewhat competitive, they've got some bad losses and have particularly struggled on the road.

6-foot-4 guard Nolan Cressler may provide matchup issues, as again the Broncos lack a true stopper with size on the perimeter. In the end, though, despite Cressler's 17.0 point per game average, he's not shooting the ball extremely well and may be having to do too much on this team.

Don't expect the Broncos to have too much trouble here as a small Black Friday crowd watches WMU head to 5-2 on the season and warm up for their upcoming road stretch.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 82, Cornell 64

D.J.: Cornell is off to a terrible start in this still early season. They have been awful on the road and have yet to win a game at all. They seem to be ripe for the picking for the Broncos.

WMU needs to put together these road wins before the head on a stretch of road games coming up. I think Shayne Whittington will have a breakout game and make his impact felt on both ends of the floor.

Expect this game to be close early, but in the end, WMU will do what it needs to walk away with the win.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 71, Cornell 62

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