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Michigan Opponent Preview: Western Michigan

How They Are Doing So Far:

Last season Western Michigan’s defense let them down. The result was a disappointing 17-15 record and 9-9 in Mid-American Conference play. This year the defense is doing a little bit better, but the opposition can still often get open looks at the basket. The Broncos are 5-4 with some promising victories over Detroit, Oakland and Youngstown State. The games that are more on the same level as a trip to Criser Arena though did not go quite as well for WMU. The Broncos visited Ole Miss and lost 90-64 and went to Cincinnati where they fell 78-52.

 

Last Time Out:

Sophomore Michael Flowers scored a career high 25 points to lead the Broncos over Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon. Flowers did not see much playing time as a freshman, but has certainly come into his own this year, averaging 13.6 points and 3.8 assists. Flowers got some help from the rest of the backcourt against the Penguins. Josh Davis, a 6-5 wing, added 17 points and a team high ten rebounds. He went 7-of-7 from the free-throw line and Davis is the big, strong guard who can attack the basket and put some points on the board even when shots are not falling. Jared Printy joined Flowers and Davis in the starting backcourt and in the double figure scoring department.

 

Who To Watch:

The backcourt led the way in Youngstown, but it has been seven-footer Seth Dugan that has been the Broncos top player so far this season. And that started in the first game of the season when he scored 32 points and grabbed 22 rebounds against Detroit. Dugan struggled against the Penguins, but he is averaging a team high 17.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Dugan has been less effective against the tougher teams on the schedule though and he will need to provide a consistent scoring threat in the paint in order to open up space for the players on the perimeter.

 

Who Else To Watch:

Coming off his brilliant game against Youngstown State, the expectations are growing for Michael Flowers. He has been steadily improving with more playing time this season. In the first two games of the year he scored just three points. Since then Flowers has reached double figures in six of seven games, culminating with his 25 points against the Penguins.

 

Prediction:

If Dugan is a threat in the paint and Flowers and the rest of the backcourt can take advantage of the little bit of space that will give them, Western Michigan can score some points on Michigan. However, the defense is going to be the problem. The Broncos allow the opposition to shoot 34.5 percent from beyond the arc, which is better than last year but still not very good, and Michigan obviously has the weapons to take advantage of that flimsy defense. The Wolverines will make more than enough shots to put way the Broncos sooner or later, but WMU has a chance to keep up offensively and stick around for a while.

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