Tonight, CMU concludes it’s five game road trip to start the season, with a trip to the UIC Pavilion to take on the host Flames of Illinois-Chicago. CMU comes in with a 1-3 record, with two of those losses coming in overtime, and another by 3 points to a good Hawaii team. UIC comes in at 3-2. Tip-off is set for 8pm EST.
CMU leads the all-time series between the two schools 4-3, including a win last year in Mt. Pleasant.
UIC Comes in having won three of their last four games, including a win over future CMU conference opponent Toledo 57-51. UIC also played their opening game against Pitt, where they were dismantled 97-54. UIC comes into the game being led by the best name in the country in Robo Kreps, who is average 20.0 points per game, shooting over 52% from the floor and over 48% from beyond the three point line. In addition to Kreps, UIC’s other big player is Paul Carter, who is averaging 17.0 points per game in addition to leading the team with 6.8 rebounds per game.
Since winning their opener in dramatic fashion, the Chippewas have continued to play close games in every match up thus far, but come in on a three game losing streak. A three point loss to Hawaii was sandwiched between overtime losses to Montana State and South Alabama. The Chippewas, much like the Flames are led by two names on offense, Trey Zeigler, and Jalin Thomas. Zeigler comes in averaging 19.3 points per game, and is 2nd on the team in rebounding with 6.8 per game. While Thomas comes in scoring 14.3 per game.
The Chippewas are a very young team who have been relying heavily on the freshman Zeigler to carry the bulk of the teams scoring, with very few offensive options other than Thomas to look to. But with so many close games that this team has endured thus far, one can only hope that it builds character and matures this team in a hurry for the MAC season.
I look for this to be a very close game, these two teams are very similar in style, and the meetings the last three years have been closely contested games. Both teams rely on two main guys for their scoring. The key in this game is going to be whoever rebounds the ball better. As I have mentioned before on here, the biggest key for CMU is the play of Will McClure. When he plays well on defense, and rebounds the ball well, CMU tends to be a better team. Look to see how he plays early on for a good barometer of how this one might end up.
The game can be heard live, on-line for free at the official CMU Athletics Site.