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Franimal Planet: Iowa-Central Michigan Preview

Hey everyone, Keno is back!

Jonathan Daniel

Date: November 12, 2012
Time: 6:30 pm CT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Television: BTN
Line: Iowa -21.5

Central Michigan has not yet played this season, but their 0-0 record has them rated 324th out of 347 by Ken Pomeroy. Last year, the Chippewas went 11-21 overall and 5-11 in the MAC. They ranked near the bottom of the MAC in both points per possession and points allowed per possession, which is really not where you want to be. It wasn't where Central Michigan wanted to be, either, so they fired their coach. The only problem: Their best player, sophomore forward Trey Zeigler, was the coach's son. He split, along with CMU's second- and third-best scoring options, guards Austin McBroom and Derek Jackson. Their fourth-leading scorer graduated. In all, CMU lost 46 points per game from a team that only averaged 62. Their top returning scorer, 6-7 forward Olivier Mbaigoto, was described by Basketball Prospectus as "a good rebounder who struggles on offense." The rest of the returning roster was averaging less than 15 minutes a game on a team that went 11-21.

This is probably where we should mention that the new coach is mid-major turnaround artist Keno Davis, who inherited a similar (though not quite as inexperienced) team at Drake and turned an afterthought senior benchwarmer into the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. No telling whether there's an Adam Emmanecker hiding on the Chippewas' bench, but Keno decided to go young, bringing in six new recruits, including moderately intriguing power forward John Simons out of Cadillac, MI, and JUCO guard DeAndray Buckley from Indian Hills (IA) CC. This should be one of the rare instances where a team is demonstrably younger than Iowa this season.

It's Keno, so we should know what to expect: Fast break offense, press on defense. They will score points -- even Davis' bad teams at Providence had no problem putting points on the board -- but they will give them up by the truckload. CMU has to worry about intentionally falling into the trap of playing Iowa's style of game with inferior athletes, and that alone should be enough to get Iowa through this one with relative ease.