Game Preview Predictions: Northern Illinois

Game Information
Western Michigan Broncos (9-7, 1-2) at Northern Illinois Huskies (3-12, 1-2)
Location: Dekalb, IL
Venue: Convocation Center
Capacity: 10,000
Saturday, January 19 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)
All-time series record: WMU leads 51-29
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.
Mark Montgomery's record at NIU: 6-34 (2nd season)
Steve Hawkins' record at Western Michigan: 168-139 (10th season)
Additional Information
- The Broncos are 14-5 against the Huskies under head coach Steve Hawkins, including six straight victories against NIU.
- The Broncos have not lost to the Huskies since falling in DeKalb on Jan. 13, 2010.
- Hawkins is 66-29 (.695) against MAC West opponents since taking the reins of the program.
- Nate Hutcheson made his 100th career start in the game against Ohio, making him the eighth player in program history to reach the century mark in starts.
- Hutcheson needs just 76 points to reach 1,000 points for his career.
- Jared Klein made his first career start on Wednesday, posting six points, three rebounds, and two assists against Toledo.
- Shayne Whittington recorded his fifth double-double of the year against Toledo, posting 12 points and 13 rebounds.
- It is the second time this season Whittington has posted back-to-back double-double performances. 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 8.3 points per game off the bench this season, including a career-high 15 points against Toledo.
- The Broncos spread the ball around well against Toledo, with five players taking eight or more shots in the victory.
- WMU's 23-point victory over Toledo is the highest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since they beat Northern Illinois
78-53 on February 15, 2011, a span of 24 games.
- Darius Paul leads all freshmen in the MAC in scoring (11.3 ppg) and rebounds (6.1 rpg).
Staff Predictions
Brian Persky: This is probably a tougher game than people are expecting. NIU might be the one team in the MAC that rebounds the ball as well as, or better, than Western Michigan.
With practices this week focusing around rebounding, I think the players are well aware of what they need to do tonight against the Huskies. I think this one is closer than WMU fans would want it to be, but that they scratch and claw out a hard-earned victory on the road.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 64, NIU 60
David James: NIU is a more game opponent than they were last season, but they're still likely the weakest team overall in the MAC. WMU has to win this game to be considered a contender.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 66, NIU 58
D.J. Duckett: I think the Broncos found something last game against Toledo. Now we'll see if they can take this act on the road. For the most part, i think WMU matches up pretty well with NIU, and if Darius Paul can continue to score they will be in good shape.
I will be looking to see how Jared Klein runs the offense from the point guard spot. The freshman certainly impressed in his first start last game, lets see if he can continue to lead.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 77, NIU 72
Brandon Fitzsimons: Unfortunately Brandon is too tired to give us a game analysis, so we'll let him sleep in. However, he was able to generate a score prediction for the game.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 68, NIU 56
Additional Links
Rebounding will be key against physical Northern Illinois squad ($)
WMU Athletics: Men's Hoops Hits the Road to Take On NIU
WMU Athletics: Official Game Notes
MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette: In the paint: Western Michigan basketball tries to keep footing tonight at Northern Illinois
MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette: Stomach flu stifles Western Michigan basketball leading scorer Nate Hutcheson
NIU Athletics: NIU Hosts Western Michigan in Prime Time Saturday Matchup
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