Mittens’ Mitten Roundup – College Hoops, Week 13

With the calendar set to flip to February this week, college basketball action around the country is about to get more intense. Here in the mitten, it will be no different.

Notable action this week around the mitten; how two Big Ten clubs fare in some potential trap games, whether one Horizon League team is primed to make a “sleeper” run, and two of the three ‘Directional’ Michigan MAC teams getting together for the first of their two meetings.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS

RECAP: Central Michigan (13-8, 2-6 MAC) continues to nosedive in the conference standings. After another two defeats at home last week, the Chippewas now sit all alone in the basement of the West Division of the MAC. They’ve struggled defensively in league games, allowing just over 77 points per MAC game; 9th out of 12 in the league.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 01.30 – vs. Northern Illinois (10-11, 3-5 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.03 – @ Ohio (9-11, 2-6 MAC) | 3:30 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore and former De La Salle product Kevin McKay continues to be a spark plug off the bench for the Chippewas. The Warren-native collected 11- and 17-point games last week, giving him double-digit outputs in six of his last seven contests. McKay played sparingly as a freshman, barely over four minutes a game last year. Now he’s averaging close to 25 minutes for CMU.

DETROIT MERCY TITANS

RECAP: Detroit (6-17, 2-8 Horizon) had the privilege of playing the conference’s top two teams in Wright State and Northern Kentucky last week and proceeded to get bludgeoned in both affairs. The Titans were a combined -60 in the scoring margin department. The 44 points scored by UDM against NKU was their lowest total in a game this season.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.02 – vs. IUPUI (7-14, 4-6 Horizon) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.04 – vs. UI-Chicago (11-11, 6-3 Horizon) | 2 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: The Titans’ Kameron Chatman was the only real bright spot for Detroit last week. He tallied a game-high 24 in the blowout loss the Wright State. Chatman only netted six points against the Norse in their second game of the week but grabbed 10 rebounds, his eighth double-digit rebound game this season. The former Michigan Wolverine continues to be the team’s most consistent performer night in and night out.

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES

RECAP: Eastern Michigan (12-9, 3-5 MAC) salvaged a split last week in league play, losing to conference leader Buffalo before picking up a win on the road against Miami (OH). The mitten’s resident flock of Eagles are part of a 10-team clusterf*** in the MAC, where all 10 teams are within three games of each other in the standings. On the table is a couple of games for EMU where they can make a respectable statement of sorts.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 01.30 – vs. Western Michigan (12-9, 4-4 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.03 – vs. Ball State (13-8, 4-4 MAC) | Noon ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: We normally want to spread the wealth here, but Paul Jackson is stealing it all right now. The junior for Eastern Michigan and team’s new current leading scorer potted a combined 35 points last week in the team’s two games played, including his second 20-point performance in the now previous four games. Jackson is one of three Eagles averaging north of 15 PPG this season.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

RECAP: Michigan (17-6, 6-4 Big Ten) played yet another close, hard-fought game with a top-5 Purdue squad but the Wolverines again came up short against the red-hot Boilermakers. They certainly pass the eye test when it comes to how they played against a team like Purdue, but winning at least one of those would look that much better for Michigan.

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UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 01.29 – vs. Northwestern (13-9, 4-5 Big Ten) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.03 – vs. Minnesota (14-9, 3-7 Big Ten) | 2:30 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman put together a career night in West Lafayette last week, scoring a personal-best 26 points. Abdur-Rahkman in that game shot 10/15 from the floor, including six made triples. He’s been John Beilein’s iron man all season long, averaging better than 34 minutes of playing time to pace the Wolverines.

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

RECAP: One would be hard-pressed to find a school more under the microscope than Michigan State (20-3, 8-2 Big Ten) for all the wrong reasons. Still, there are games to be played in these tumultuous and trying times for the Spartans and as far as the court is concerned, they seemed to have found a groove again. Now winners of four straight after two key victories this past weekend and three in seven days, Sparty will look to keep the momentum rolling against a couple mid-tier conference foes.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 01.31 – vs. Penn State (15-8, 5-5 Big Ten) | 6:30 p.m. ET
  • 02.03 – @ Indiana (12-10, 5-5 Big Ten) | 8:15 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore sensation Miles Bridges went off last week for Michigan State, at least in two of the three games played. Bridges netted 31 and 24 against Illinois and Wisconsin, respectively. He only tallied 11 on Sunday against Maryland but grabbed nine rebounds, assisted on four other made shots and made some key freebies down the stretch to help seal a comeback win against the Terps.

OAKLAND GOLDEN GRIZZLIES

RECAP: Oakland (14-9, 6-4 Big Ten) went through the same gauntlet as in-state rival Detroit did last week, playing on the road against Horizon League leaders Wright State and Northern Kentucky. The Grizzlies, however, did manage to steal a win, downing NKU by 13 points and avenging an earlier loss to the Norse this season.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.02 – vs. UI-Chicago | 9 p.m. ET
  • 02.04 – vs. IUPUI | Noon ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: If Oakland wants to make a Cinderella-esque run in February and March, Kendrick Nunn is going to need to help. That could come in the form of Jalen Hayes. The senior and Lansing-native continued his sweet stroke again last week, totaling 34 points in the Grizzlies’ two games, including 21 in the victory against Northern Kentucky.

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

RECAP: Western Michigan (12-9, 4-4 MAC) lost a second straight nail-biter to a MAC power in Toledo (lost to Buffalo the game prior), but rebounded nicely with a win at home against Northern Illinois. The Broncos needed a spark as they now hit the road for two very crucial league games this week.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 01.30 – @ Eastern Michigan
  • 02.02 – @ Buffalo (16-5, 8-0 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: It’s been a minute since we’ve talked about Thomas Wilder. The Broncos’ top scorer exploded for a pair of 25+ point games last week, including a 40-point showing against Toledo to set a new career-high. The senior, who flirted with going to the NBA after last season, is the type of guy that can take over a game and carry his club. Western is certainly hoping he can come March in the conference tournament.

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