Broncos To Face Ball State in Televised Clash
Western Michigan Broncos (15-7, 7-2 MAC) at Ball State Cardinals (8-13, 2-7 MAC)
Saturday, February 9 // 6 p.m.
Muncie, Ind. // Worthen Arena
Radio • Bronco Radio Network
Announcers • Sean Fagan
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 5:30 p.m.
Television • SportsTime Ohio
Talent • Michael Reghi & Steve Mix
• This will be the 116th meeting between the two teams, with Western Michigan holding the narrow 58-57 edge in the series
• WMU won each of the last two meetings between the teams
• The Cardinals lead the series 36-20 in games played in Muncie
• The Broncos are 13-6 against Ball State under head coach Steve Hawkins, but are 3-5 in games played in Muncie
• The Broncos have lost the last four meetings at Worthen Arena; the last win was on Jan. 16, 2008
• The Broncos received 17 votes in the Feb. 4 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll
• Western Michigan will host Pacific in the 2013 Bracketbuster on Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. in a game that will be aired on ESPN 3
• The Broncos are 7-6 in games played away from University Arena in 2012-13; they won just three such games last season
• The Broncos are 3-1 in MAC road games this season; last year, they won just one conference road game
• The Broncos have won seven straight MAC games for the first time since winning eight straight from March 1, 2004 - Jan. 19, 2005
• The Broncos' seven-game win streak is their longest since winning seven straight from Dec. 22, 2004 - Jan. 19, 2005
• The Broncos' seven-game MAC win streak is their longest since winning 10 straight to start the 1975-76 season
• Western Michigan's bench is outscoring opponents by an average of 13.1 points per game during the win streak
• The Broncos have either entered halftime tied or trailing in the last three games, but came back to win them all
• Western Michigan is 7-2 this season in games decided by two possessions or fewer
• The Broncos have a 7-6 record away from University Arena, giving them the most wins away from home in the MAC
• Akron is the only other MAC team with a winning record away from home (6-4)
• David Brown's 48.6 three-point shooting percentage would lead the MAC if he qualified (due to games played)
• Shayne Whittington has scored 20 or more points in five games this season, after having zero such games in previous years
• WMU is undefeated in their previous four games against MAC West competition this season
• David Brown recorded his first career 20-point game against Kent State, dropping 22 off the bench
• Brown is averaging 10.8 points per game since returning to the line-up in the game at Akron
• Hutcheson needs just 15 points to reach 1,000 points for his career
• Shayne Whittington's seven double-doubles is the most for a Bronco since Joe Reitz had 10 double-doubles in 2006-07
• Whittington is one of only three players in the MAC with seven or more double-doubles this season
• Whittington has recorded double-doubles in consecutive games for the third time this season
BRONCOS VS. THE CARDINALS
This will be the 116th meeting between Western Michigan and Ball State, with the Broncos holding a slim 58-57 edge in the rivalry. The series dates back to the 1931-32 season, when the Cardinals defeated the Broncos 35-31 in Muncie. That win would set the tone for much of the series; though always closely contested, the Cardinals control the series in Muncie 36-20.
The Broncos are 13-6 against Ball State under head coach Steve Hawkins, including wins in each of the last two meetings; both came last season, when the Broncos defeated the Cardinals in Kalamazoo in both the regular season and the opening round of the MAC Tournament. The Broncos have not beaten Ball State in Muncie since the 2007-08 season, though, suffering four straight losses there.
After starting the MAC slate 0-2, the Broncos have won seven straight conference games and have moved into third place in the conference with a 7-2 record. The seven straight conference victories is the best in-season MAC win streak since a streak that ran from March 1, 2004 - Jan. 19, 2005, over the course of two seasons. The last time the Broncos won seven straight MAC games in one season was during the 1975-76 season, when the Broncos opened the conference slate 10-0.
Shayne Whittington recorded his fifth 20-point performance of the season with his 21-point, 13-rebound effort against Kent State. That marked the seventh double-double of the season for the big man, the most for a Bronco player since Joe Reitz had 10 double-doubles in the 2006-07 season.
David Brown has shown the ability to come off the bench and spark the Broncos to quick points so far in 2012-13, providing them with punch from the bench. Brown is averaging 10.8 points per game since returning from injury this season, and has recorded 13 or more points in five different games. He had his first career 20-point effort against Kent State, dropping 22 on the Golden Flashes in the win.
INSIDE THE STREAK
Some notes about the Broncos' seven-game win streak:
• Four Broncos are averaging double-digit scoring: Shayne Whittington (16.0), David Brown (12.4), Darius Paul (10.1), and Nate Hutcheson (10.0);
• The team is shooting 49.3 percent from the field, while holding opponents to 35.5 percent;
• David Brown is shooting 16-of-33 (.485) percent from three-point range;
• Shayne Whittington has recorded three double-doubles during the streak
In each of the last three games, the Broncos have entered the halftime break either tied with their opponent or trailing them, but each time they bounced back to earn the victory. The Broncos trailed Miami 35-32 at the break but outscored the RedHawks by seven points in the second half to seal the win; they were tied with Buffalo at 31 at halftime, but the Broncos needed a 5-0 run to close the half to tie the score; and they trailed Kent State 38-32 at half before outscoring the Golden Flashes 50-38 in the second half.
STINGY FROM THE FIELD
The Broncos remain one of the tougher defensive teams in the Mid-American Conference at the halfway point of the season, holding their MAC rivals to dismal shooting percentages and rebounding rates. Looking at solely conference games, the Broncos are second in the league scoring defense (57.8 ppg), first in field goal percentage defense (.361), and third in rebounding margin (+4.4).
BRONCOS DRAW PACIFIC IN BRACKETBUSTER
The Western Michigan men's basketball team will host Pacific of the Big West Conference in the 2013 Bracketbuster game. The game, which will be featured on ESPN3, will be played on Saturday, February 23 at 1 p.m. at University Arena. The Broncos are one of three Mid-American Conference teams to appear on television in this year's event, joining Akron (home against North Dakota State) and Ohio (away at Belmont).
The Broncos have shown this season that they are as comfortable on the road as they are in the friendly confines of University Arena. The Broncos are 5-6 in true road games this season, and boast a 7-6 record in games played away from University Arena. Last season, the Broncos won only three such games.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
This year's edition of the Broncos has shown the ability to win close games. So far in 2012-13, the Broncos are 7-2 in games decided by two possessions or less.