Broncos Travel To Face Rival Chippewas
Western Michigan Broncos (11-7, 3-2 MAC) at Central Michigan Chippewas (9-9, 2-2 MAC)
Saturday, January 26 // 7 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant, Mich. // McGuirk Arena
Radio • Bronco Radio Network
Announcers • 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
Broadcast • Pre-game show begins at 6:30 p.m.
• This will be the 128th meeting between the two teams, with the Broncos leading the series 82-46
• The Broncos trail the all-time series in Mt. Pleasant, where they are 25-26
• The Broncos are 13-7 against Eastern Michigan under head coach Steve Hawkins, including a split last year
• The Broncos have not lost back-to-back game against the Chippewas since losing three straight from Feb. 4, 2002 - Feb. 10, 2003
• Hawkins is 68-29 (.701) against MAC West opponents since taking the reins of the program
• Nate Hutcheson started his 103rd game for the Broncos on Wednesday, passing Mike Seberger for sixth on the career starts list
• Hutcheson needs just 59 points to reach 1,000 points for his career
• The Broncos have won three straight MAC games for the first time since winning four straight from Feb. 23 - March 5, 2011
• The Broncos have held four of their five MAC opponents this season to under their scoring averages, as of the time the teams met
• Eastern Michigan is the only MAC team to score above their season average against WMU in MAC play (Scored 59, averaged 57.6)
• The Broncos held the other MAC teams to an average of 18.0 points per game below their season averages
• Whittington's five double-doubles ties the most for a Bronco since Joe Reitz had six during the 2007-08 season
• Whittington is one of only three players in the MAC with five or more double-doubles this season
• David Brown is averaging 8.5 points per game off the bench this season, including a career-high 15 points against Toledo and 13 points against Northern Illinois
• Connar Tava is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game in his last three games
BRONCOS VS. THE CHIPPEWAS
This will be the 128th meeting between the two teams, with the Broncos owning an 82-46 record over the Chippewas in the all-time series. The oldest surviving rivalry in the Bronco record books, the rivalry dates back to the very first year of Bronco basketball, when the Chips beat WMU 30-25. After brief interruptions early in the history, the series has been played annually since 1945-46. The Broncos are 25-26 in games played in Mt. Pleasant.
Under head coach Steve Hawkins, the Broncos boast a record of 13-7 against the Chippewas, including wins in four of the last five contests. Hawkins is 4-5 against the Chippewas in games played in Mt. Pleasant.
HISTORICAL NOTES ABOUT THE NIU WIN
The Broncos' defensive effort against Northern Illinois on Saturday isn't just one of the best in the Steve Hawkins era, it's one of the best in the 99-year history of the program. The Broncos held the Huskies to just 34 points, the lowest score for a Western Michigan opponent since the Broncos held Olivet to 33 points in the 1948-49 season opener; WMU won that game 53-33.
In addition to the impressive points against total in that game, the Broncos also reached another milestone of note. The 37-point margin of victory is the best for the Broncos since defeating Alma 109-50 on Dec. 4, 2010. The margin is also the best for the Broncos against a Division I opponent since an 84-39 beatdown of Central Michigan on Jan. 29, 2005.
BOUNCE BACK EFFORTS
Nate Hutcheson scored 12 points against the Eagles on Wednesday, and in the process may have snapped out of a scoring slump dating back past the new year. Hutcheson had not broken double-digits in scoring since dropping 16 on #23 North Carolina State on December 29, 2012.
Hutcheson wasn't the only player to post a rebound effort against the Eagles. Brandon Pokley's 10 points represented his first double-digit total since scoring 15 points in the Broncos' win over Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 22, 2012.
Since Steve Hawkins became head coach of the Broncos, they have posted a 68-29 (.701) record against MAC West opponents.
Shayne Whittington has been on a tear blocking shots as of late, and his recent surge is putting him in the conversation of cracking the Bronco single-season record books for blocks. Whittington has 32 blocked shots this season, which is three behind Mike Williams' 2003-04 total of 35 blocked shots, a total that ranks 10th for a single season at WMU. While it is too early to speculate, should Whittington maintain his season average for the remainder of the year, he could threaten Matt Van Abbema's single-season block record of 56, set in 1993-94.
There are few things nearer and dearer to head coach Steve Hawkins' heart than rebounding and defense, and Connar Tava has provided that and then some in his role coming off the bench. Tava has recorded at least two rebounds in 15 of 18 games this season, and is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game in his last three contests; that equates to an average of 9.8 rebounds per 40 minutes.