Mittens’ Mitten Roundup – College Hoops, Week 14

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Now with Super Bowl LII in our rear-view mirror, the sports focus turns to college hoops and what should be an exciting finish to the regular season; one that has already been completely unpredictable.

This week in the mitten, the trio of Mid-American programs look to continue making one final push; and a colossal top-5 showdown between Big Ten powers takes place in East Lansing. See what your favorite team has in store this week.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS

RECAP: Hats off to Central Michigan (15-8, 4-6 MAC), who collected consecutive wins last week for the first time in conference play this season and first time overall since 12/29/17-01/02/18. The offense came to life, averaging 91 points in the two wins, after averaging just 68.5 in their two previous games (both losses).

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.06 – vs. Buffalo (17-6, 9-1 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.10 – @ Akron (10-12, 3-7 MAC) | 2 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior Cecil Williams was one of two Chippewas to reach double-figures in both games last week. Williams poured in a combined 40 over the two wins, including 27 in the double-overtime victory at Ohio, in which he shot 11-for-12 from the free throw line. It was just his sixth 20+ point game this season.

DETROIT MERCY TITANS

RECAP: A much-improved showing last week for Detroit (7-18, 3-9 Horizon) after playing the top dogs in the Horizon League. They snap a four-game slide with a win over IUPUI before dropping a close one to UIC. Now comes a stretch of four straight road games for Mercy, where they’ve struggled mightily this year.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.09 – @ Oakland (15-10, 7-5 Horizon) | 9 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junior and Detroit-native Josh McFolley was one of a few steady contributors for the Titans last week. The Detroit Western product was part of a balanced Mercy offense in the win over IUPUI, where all five starters reached double-figures (scoring 14 points), before posting a career-high 30 points in the loss to Chicago.

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES

RECAP: Eastern Michigan (13-10, 4-6 MAC) played to another weekly stalemate, falling to rival Western Michigan before salvaging a win at home against Ball State. With conference standings virtually meaningless for one-bid leagues, it is all about momentum, and EMU desperately needs to find some as the season starts to wind down.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.06 – @ Kent State (12-11, 6-4 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.10 – @ Bowling Green (14-9, 5-5 MAC) | 4 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junior James Thomspon IV collected two more double-doubles and was the only real consistent performer for the Eagles last week. Against Western Michgan, Thompson eclipsed 20 points for a fifth time this season and matched a season-high with 18 rebounds.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

RECAP: Michigan (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) certainly did not make it easy for themselves last week against middling Big Ten foes Northwestern and Minnesota, but they managed to survive and pick up two more all-important league wins to keep pace among the top four and stay in the hunt for a double-bye in the conference tournament.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.06 – @ Northwestern (14-10, 5-6 Big Ten) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.11 – @ Wisconsin (10-15, 3-9 Big Ten) | 1 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junior Charles Matthews was one of two Wolverines who scored 10+ points in both of the team’s games last week. The Kentucky transfer netted 14 and 13, respectively, adding 11 rebounds to go with those 13 against Minnesota to give him just his third double-double of the year.

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

RECAP: Much like their Ann Arbor counterparts, Michigan State (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) did not play their best basketball despite coming out on top in both games. Consider it “survive and advance” for MSU, as their hunt for a No. 1 seed in the dance remains a big possibility, but there is a serious logjam atop the polls.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.06 – @ Iowa (12-13, 3-9 Big Ten) | 9 p.m. ET
  • 02.10 – vs. No. 3 Purdue (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten) | 4 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore Joshua Langford was the only Spartan last week to reach double-digits in both games, scoring 14 and 10 respectively for MSU. Langford may slowly be finding a groove again, it’s now three straight double-digit games for him after going four consecutive without reaching double figures.

OAKLAND GOLDEN GRIZZLIES

RECAP: Oakland (15-10, 7-5 Horizon) not only mirrored the schedule of rival Detroit last week, but mirrored the results as well. They opened up the week with a loss to Chicago before snapping that mini two-game skid by downing IUPUI. The Grizzlies are now 2-4 against the three teams ahead of them in the Horizon League (WRST, NKU, UIC).

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.09 – vs. Detroit Mercy

PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior Nick Daniels has been a steady bench player in his time for OU over the years. The Westland-native and John Glenn High School product again was a very adequate spark off the bench last week, totaling 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 46 minutes, including a perfect 11/11 from the charity stripe. The 11-point performance against IUPUI was his eighth double-digit game of the season.

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

RECAP: Western Michigan (13-10, 5-5 MAC) nearly had themselves a flawless week. After taking care of in-state rival Eastern Michigan on the road, they gave MAC leader Buffalo a huge scare, but to no avail. The Broncos, however, do find themselves in a spot to make a late run here, given the overall mediocre nature of the conference and their upcoming schedule.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.06 – vs. Miami-OH (13-10, 6-4 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.10 – vs. Ohio (9-13, 2-8 MAC) | 4:30 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore Brandon Johnson continues to play “above his pay grade” lately, so to speak. Two more 10+ point games for Johnson this past week, he’s now averaging close to 12 PPG over his last six contests, a considerable uptick from the seven games prior (7 PPG; one 10+ game in that stretch).