WEEK 6: Central Michigan on fire; Oakland, Detroit prepare for showcase at LCA

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It’s about that time of the year in college basketball where the schedule begins to lighten up some, literally and figuratively. Many schools are wrapping up the fall semester with final exams this week, which means limited action for the sports teams.

This week for the five mid-majors in Michigan, only four of the teams having games on the docket; Western Michigan is off until December 18. The remaining four all have just one game, all taking place on Saturday, December 16.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS

RECAP: Central Michigan (8-1) stayed red hot last week, blowing out Montana State before squeaking by Tennessee Tech. The Chippewas have now won seven straight games since their hard-fought loss at Michigan back on November 13. CMU carries a top-15 scoring defense through nine games, one year having by far the worst mark in that department in the Mid-American Conference.

UP NEXT (click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/16 – @ Southern Utah (5-4) | 2:30 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior guard Cecil Williams netted a pair of double-digit point games last week for Central Michigan, including a bucket to ice a victory against Tennessee Tech. Williams has reached double-figures in four straight games now, shooting an even 50 percent from the floor during that span.

DETROIT MERCY TITANS

RECAP: Tough going for Detroit (4-6) recently, a couple of close losses at home against MAC programs Toledo and Western Michigan extended their losing skid to four games. The good news is that head coach Bacari Alexander returned to the bench last week after his mysterious absence that has still raised eyebrows from outside the program.

UP NEXT (click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/16 – vs. Michigan (8-3) | 2:30 p.m. ET @ Little Caesars Arena

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sophomore and Ypsilanti-native Corey Allen tallied 17 points in the loss to Toledo before exploding for 32 in a losing effort vs. Western Michigan last week. Allen has eclipsed double-figures in every game thus far for Mercy this season, and through nine games, has seen more than a four-point uptick in scoring from his freshman year.

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES

RECAP: Eastern Michigan (7-2) picked up a pair of quality wins last week, including a statement victory at home against Horizon League in-state power Oakland before downing Division II Central State (OH) as an encore. EMU is now 5-5 all-time against the Golden Grizzlies going back to November of 1996.

UP NEXT (click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/16 – @ Long Beach State (5-7) | 7 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: We knew going into the season that James Thompson IV was going to be the focal point for Eastern Michigan this season. The junior from Baton Rouge collected two more double-doubles last week; something he has done in all but one game this year for the Eagles. Thompson has seen a modest uptick in playing time this year, which has equated to similar trends in production.

OAKLAND GOLDEN GRIZZLIES

RECAP: While Oakland (6-4) did fall in a close one to Eastern Michigan, a game that very well could have ended in their favor, they did rebound with a rather comfortable win at home against Chicago State. OU is averaging close to 88 points per game over their last five games (4-1 record) since dropping three straight last month.

SCHEDULE (click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/16 – vs. Michigan State (9-1) | approx. 2:30 p.m. ET @ Little Caesars Arena

PLAYER TO WATCH: We’re going to fly under the radar with this one so stay with me here. Junior Julius Palmer saw 31 minutes of combined action last week in the two games for Oakland, after logging just 27 minutes in his previous five games total. In the last two games for the Grizzlies, the former JUCO transfer has tallied 10 points, four rebounds and four blocks, and converted on all six of his free throw attempts. He’s not a standout for OU, but very much a welcomed addition off the bench for Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe.