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Mittens’ Mitten Roundup – College Hoops, Week 16

Wait, this is our last regular season hoops roundup of the year? It feels like conference play just started a week or two ago.

Yes, sir, the college hoops season is coming to a close. In fact, both the Big Ten and Horizon League representatives here in the mitten wrap up their regular seasons this week; the Mid-American Conference contingent still have two more weeks of #MACtion.

Here’s the who’s facing whom and what to watch for.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS

RECAP: Central Michigan (16-11, 5-9 MAC) started off with a nice road win at Northern Illinois but could not double down at home at Eastern Michigan, after holding a lead for much of that game against the Eagles. That’s now three losses in the last four games for the Chippewas, and it doesn’t get any easier this week.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.20 – @ Western Michigan (15-12, 7-7 MAC) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.23 – @ Toledo (19-8, 11-3 MAC) | 6:30 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: So sophomore Kevin McKay did me a solid and made me look smart. The Warren-native absolutely went off, scoring a career-high 33 points in 36 minutes off the bench, shooting 70 percent (14/20) from the floor. The De La Salle product followed that up with a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds and was three assists shy of a triple-double. Keep doing you, Kevin.

DETROIT MERCY TITANS

RECAP: Like CMU, Detroit (8-20, 4-11 Horizon) nearly had consecutive wins last week. They managed to overcome a first-half deficit to Cleveland State, actually claiming the lead in the second half, but couldn’t quite pull it out against the Vikings. The Titans, however, did respond with a win at Youngstown State; the 94 points in that win was their most since December 28.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.19 – @ UI-Chicago (16-12, 11-4 Horizon) | 8 p.m. ET
  • 02.22 – vs. UW-Milwaukee (14-15, 7-9 Horizon) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.24 – vs. UW-Green Bay (10-19, 5-11 Horizon) | 2 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Detroit’s go-to offensive source is Michigan transfer, Kameron Chatman. He poured in 40 total points last week, including his 12th game of 20+ points with a 26-point showing in the win over the Penguins. With 11 rebounds, it was also the ninth double-double for Chatman.

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES

RECAP: No mid-major college in the mitten had a better week of hoops than Eastern Michigan (16-11, 7-7 MAC). We mentioned their come-from-behind win over rival Central Michigan on the road. Conversely, they survived a furious comeback at home against Miami-OH. EMU has now won five of seven, following a stretch of losing five of seven.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.20 – vs. Toledo | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.24 – vs. Northern Illinois (12-15, 5-9 MAC) | Noon ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junior James Thompson IV was very James Thompson IV-esque last week. Two more double-doubles give him 19 on the year. His ten field goals made in the win over the Chippewas were the most for him in a single game since way back on December 9 in a home win against Oakland.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

RECAP: Michigan put together two very nice wins last week. They (largely) took care of business at home against Iowa before taking down a top-10 club and hated rival Ohio State in their home finale, a game that could very well play a huge factor into seeding for the conference tournament. It’s the first time Michigan has won three straight conference games this season.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.21 – @ Penn State (19-10, 9-7 Big Ten) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.24 – @ Nebraska (20-9, 11-5 Big Ten) | Noon ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Freshman Jordan Poole was the man of the hour for the Wolverines on Sunday against the Buckeyes. The former 4-star prospect from Milwaukee netted 15 points, which included four of the team’s seven made triples. It’s the most points he’s scored since the first league game back on December 2. He’s had pockets of excellence at times, averaging just over 11 minutes per game, but said pockets show the upside for Poole.

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

RECAP: Okay, so Michigan State (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten) waxed Minnesota in The Barn early last week. Solid performance. Then they waltzed into Welsh-Ryan Allstate Arena and played the role of straight savage against Northwestern. They disrespected the Wildcats by not even showing up in the first half, only to disrespect them even more by overcoming a 27-point deficit to win on the road. That’s cold, Tom. You had zero business winning that game.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.20 – vs. Illinois (13-15, 3-12 Big Ten) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.25 – @ Wisconsin (12-16, 5-10 Big Ten) | 1 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore Cassius Winston jump-started the MSU offense in both games last week. He tallied 12 points on four made triples, all coming in the first half, against Minnesota. The former U of D Jesuit standout piggybacked that with a 17-point, 9-rebound, 7-assist performance against Northwestern, again draining four threes.

OAKLAND GOLDEN GRIZZLIES

RECAP: So Oakland (17-11, 9-6 Horizon) did the exact opposite of what Detroit did, as both teams flip-flopped opponents in their trips to that state to the South. The Grizzlies stumbled at Youngstown State (at the buzzer, no less) but responded with a win over Cleveland State. Same story, different characters.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.19 – @ IUPUI (9-17, 6-9 Horizon) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.22 vs. UW-Green Bay | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.24 – vs. UW-Milwaukee | 3 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Isaiah Brock had himself the best week of his season and perhaps of his college career. The 24-year-old sophomore and Army veteran posted a pair of double-doubles, the first such stat lines for him this season. And Brock was very efficient in those two games, shooting 12/15 from the floor and 5/5 from the charity stripe.

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

RECAP: Western Michigan had a prime opportunity to build off a pair of wins from the week before with two key road games against winnable opponents in Bowling Green and Northern Illinois. Unfortunately, they surrender halftime leads and lose both late. They were a +13 combined in the first half against BGSU and NIU; a combined -25 in the second halves of those two affairs.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 02.20 – vs. Central Michigan | 7 p.m. ET
  • 02.23 – @ Ball State (18-9, 9-5 MAC) | 9 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: It was not his most efficient week from the floor, but Thomas Wilder certainly did his part for the mitten-made Broncos. The team’s leading scorer all season long led WMU in scoring in each game against BGSU and NIU for a total of 38 points. points, including a perfect 13/13 from the freebie line. Overall, he was just 11/31 (35.5 percent) from the floor, well below his season average (was 43.9 percent entering the BGSU game).

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