Western Michigan Broncos (8-7, 0-2) vs. Toledo Rockets (6-7, 2-0)
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Venue: University Arena
Wednesday, January 16 at 7:00 p.m.
All-time series record: Toledo leads 78-55
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.
Tod Kowalczyk's record at Toledo 24-48 (3rd season)
Steve Hawkins' record at Western Michigan: 167-139 (10th season)
- The Broncos are 10-8 against the Rockets under head coach Steve Hawkins, including a 7-1 record at University Arena.
- The Broncos have not lost two straight games to the Rockets since losing three straight from March 1, 2006 - Feb. 7, 2007.
- The Broncos are 101-29 in home games under head coach Steve Hawkins, and are 59-17 in MAC home games in that span.
- Western Michigan is 0-2 in MAC play this year; they have not started 0-3 in MAC play since the 2002-03 season.
- Hawkins is 65-29 (.691) 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 85 points to reach 1,000 points for his career.
- Jared Klein scored a career-high 18 points against Ohio, including an 11-of-12 performance from the free throw line.
- Klein's 12 free throw attempts are tied with Nate Hutcheson for most in a game this season, who did it at High Point and against Loyola-Chicago.
- Shayne Whittington recorded his fourth double-double of the year against Ohio, notching 10 points and 13 rebounds.
- Darius Paul leads all freshmen in the MAC in scoring (11.1 ppg) and rebounds (6.3 rpg).
Brian Persky: This is about as close to a 'must-win' game for the Broncos as possible. The Rockets finally seem to be finding their stride a little late in the season, but just in time for MAC play.
I think you'll see the Broncos get back to their fundamental offense, which means getting out on the break and working it back into the paint with Whittington, Paul, and even Hutcheson. I'll be expecting the Broncos to exploit Rian Pearson defensively, with a heavy dose of Nate Hutcheson in one-on-one opportunities. I think with the home crowd behind their back, Western Michigan comes out fired up, controls the game from start to finish, and wins by a surprisingly wide margin.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 77, Toledo 63
David James: While Toledo has gotten the job done in their first two games, they're still probably a step down in competition for WMU from Ohio and Akron. The Broncos need a win badly right now and they get it in a close one.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 70, Toledo 65
D.J. Duckett: The Broncos play host to Toledo this week, in what is becoming a big game for WMU. They desperately need a conference win before any chance of winning the West gets away from them. I still think they need more production out of their guards. That has yet to be seen this year from Austin Richie, but Jared Klein has stepped it up as of late. I think WMU will be able to assert itself in the paint with Shayne Whittington and Darius Paul and the Broncos will pick up their first MAC victory of the year.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 72, Toledo 68
Brandon Fitzsimons: WMU played well on Saturday against a good Ohio team. While they did not win, they definitely looked good defensively. The reason they lost is that they missed easy buckets. That won't happen two games in a row at home. WMU gets it going and shows why they are the team to beat in the West this season.
Score Prediction: Western Michigan 73, Toledo 54
MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette: Western Michigan basketball team back to work in advance of big game vs. Toledo