The Western Michigan Broncos men's basketball team will host neighboring Kalamazoo College in an exhibition game at University Arena today, in order to officially kick-off the 2013-2014 college basketball season. The BroncoBlitz.com staff gives their game predictions below.
Brian Persky: This matchup has always traditionally been a fun way to kick-off the college basketball season in Kalamazoo, with W. Michigan Ave. being practically the only geographical barrier separating the two neighboring schools.
Second year head coach Eric Dougal will look to build upon the foundation that was laid last year and make this Hornets team an MIAA contender with leading returners Mark Ghafari (19.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Adam Peters (8.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg), and Grant Carey (5.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg).
The Hornets lost their starting point guard, but besides that look to field a pretty solid DIII basketball team, and could pose a somewhat more challenging test for WMU than last year's 43-point rout. Still, I like Western Michigan to win in a landslide allowing the coaching staff to test different rotations and pairings, getting the younger players some valuable game minutes.
Western Michigan 87, Kalamazoo College 56
WMU has had a bit of trouble in certain exhibition contests, but traditionally K-College has been pretty easy on the Broncos. Of course, it's a natural matchup, as calling it a "cross-town" game would even be a stretch. For many, it's hard to tell where one school ends and the next begins.
The Hornets return a decent group, but really still can't compete in the size, athleticism and bulk departments that tend to make the major difference in these types of exhibitions.
Expect to see numerous combinations of players from essentially the opening tipoff. It'll be particularly interesting for WMU fans to see how Tucker Haymond, who has impressed in workouts, and Kellen McCormick, still a pretty unknown redshirt freshman, perform in game action against another opponent.
Western Michigan 81, Kalamazoo College 46
As most exhibitions go, most people will not be looking at the final score, but more for how the Broncos execute in their first contest of the year. Big things are to be expected from Shayne Whittington this season and I look for him to get off on the right foot in this one.
It will be interesting to see how WMU's guard play has progressed over the off-season, and how that will effect the lack of size in the front court. All together this will be a fun matchup, but probably not all that close.
Western Michigan 77, Kalamazoo College 54