Broncos To Face Eagles in MAC Quarters
CLEVELAND, Ohio - With the Eastern Michigan Eagles' victory over the Miami RedHawks on Wednesday night, the Western Michigan men's basketball teams' path through the 2013 First Energy Mid-American Conference tournament has been officially set, as the Broncos will face the Eagles on Thursday, March 14 at 9 p.m. The game will be played at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Western Michigan Broncos (19-11, 10-6 MAC) vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles (16-17, 7-9 MAC)
Thursday, March 14 // 9 p.m.
Cleveland, Ohio // Quicken Loans 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 8:30 p.m.
Television • SportsTime Ohio
Talent • Michael Reghi and Dave Cecutti
Stream • ESPN3
• Western MIchigan won their seventh outright MAC West division title in 2013, and their sixth under head coach Steve Hawkins
• Western Michigan is 12-8 in the MAC Tournament under Hawkins, including a tournament title in the 2003-04 season
• The Broncos have won at least one game in Cleveland in each of the last three seasons, and in eight of the previous nine seasons under Steve Hawkins
• The Broncos will enter the tournament as the third seed, with their first game scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at 9 p.m.
• The Broncos have a combined 4-2 record against the four teams they could face in the quarterfinal round (2-0 vs. Northern Illinois, 1-1 vs. Eastern Michigan, 1-0 vs. Miami, 0-1 vs. Bowling Green)
• Shayne Whittington was named Second-Team All-MAC, the first time in his career he has received an All-MAC honor
• Nate Hutcheson was named Honorable Mention All-MAC, the first time in his career he has received an All-MAC honor
• Darius Paul was named to the MAC All-Freshman team, and is the first MAC Freshman of the Year at Western Michigan since David Kool won it in 2007
• David Brown is the first Bronco to win MAC Sixth Man of the Year since Reggie Berry won in 2004
• Darius Paul finished the regular season having led all MAC freshmen in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.8)
• David Brown's 10.4 ppg ranks as the most among all bench players in MAC games this season
• Brown is the only player in the top-30 in scoring average in MAC games to not start a single game
• Shayne Whittington led the conference with 11 double-doubles in 2012-13, the most for a Bronco since at least 2004-05
• Shayne Whittington is the first Bronco to average better than 8.0 rebounds per game for a full season since Joe Reitz did it during the 2006-07 season
• Whittington's average of 8.9 rebounds per game would be the best single-season mark for the Broncos since Ben Handlogten averaged 9.0 during the 1994-95 season.
• The Broncos are 72-31 (.699) against MAC West competition under head coach Steve Hawkins
• Nate Hutcheson has 1,047 points, placing him at 28th on the career list
• Hutcheson ranks as the program's career games played leader, tied with Demetrius Ward at 130 games played
• Shayne Whittington is the first Bronco with 40+ blocks in a season since Donald Lawson had 47 in 2009-10
• Whittington's 48 blocks this year rank tied for second in a single season at Western Michigan
• The Broncos are 15-4 in games in which they shoot better than 40 percent from the field
BRONCOS VS. THE EAGLES
This will be the 104th meeting between the two teams, with the Broncos holding a slim lead in the all-time series with a 55-48 edge in the rivalry. The series is one of the oldest in WMU annals, with the teams first meeting during the 1914-15 season, the second-ever year of Bronco basketball. The Eagles controlled the series until the early 2000’s, but since then the Broncos have been the team to beat. WMU is 17-5 against the Eagles since Steve Hawkins took the reins of the Broncos program. The teams split the regular season series this year, with the home team winning in each.
The Broncos are 4-1 all-time in the MAC Tournament against Eastern Michigan, including a win in the most recent meeting at the tourney. Western Michigan beat the Eagles in the quarterfinal round of the 2008 MAC Tournament, winning 70-61.
Shayne Whittington’s 16-point, 14-rebound effort against Central Michigan on March 9 gave him 11 double-doubles for the 2012-13 season, the most in the MAC for a single player this season. Whittington’s total ranks as the most for a Bronco in a single season since before the 2004-05 season.
MAC WEST SUCCESS
Western Michigan has had unprecedented success in the MAC West division under head coach Steve Hawkins’ tenure, finishing either first or second in nine of his 10 years at the helm of the program. The Broncos clinched the 2012-13 MAC West division title last week, which ranks as the seventh total in program history and the sixth under Hawkins.
MICHIGAN MAC CHAMPIONS
Western Michigan has won the Michigan MAC Championship outright four times since 2006-07 after defeating EMU, 87-60 in the 2010-11 season. Western Michigan finished a perfect 4-0 against its in-state rivals that season. WMU won the award outright in its first two years of existence in 2006 and 2007 and shared the award in 2008. The Broncos claimed the title again in 2009. Using the criteria in place for the award, WMU would have also won outright in 2004 and 2005. With a win against Central Michigan, the Broncos would claim the trophy for the 2012-13 season.
Shayne Whittington enters the quarterfinal game with an average of 8.9 rebounds per game, an average that ranks second in the conference behind Ball State’s Majok Majok. Whittington will be the first Bronco to average better than eight rebounds per game since Joe Reitz averaged 8.6 rebounds per game during the 2006-07 season. Should Whittington maintain his average, it will be the best season rebounding average for a Bronco since Ben Handlogten averaged 9.0 rebounds per game during the 1994-95 season.
By virtue of their 3-1 record against their in-state rivals at Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan, the Broncos have earned the distinction of holding the Michigan MAC Trophy for the 2013 season. It is the fifth time the Broncos have won the trophy under Steve Hawkins.
YOU TAKE THE LEAD, WE’LL DO THE REST
The Broncos’ defense and rebounding ability has been an asset all season long, and it’s perhaps summed up best by the fact that the Bronco offense doesn’t need to do much to earn the win. The Broncos are 15-4 this season in games in which they shoot better than 40 percent from the field; indeed, when the offense is humming along, the defense has been able to lock down the opponent.
Darius Paul has made a name for himself throughout the conference as an impact player early in his career, and has been named the MAC Freshman of the Year for 2012-13. Paul is the fourth player in program history to win the award, joining Booker James (1984), Ben Reed (2002), and David Kool (2007). Paul leads all MAC freshmen in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg).
In addition, Paul has has five double-doubles this season, the most for a freshman in the MAC; no other freshman in the conference has more than one double-double (Chris Fowler - Central Michigan).