Two teams that are off to entirely different starts to the season will meet when Western Michigan travels to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern on Tuesday night.
Northwestern is off to a 2-0 start and is coming off Friday’s 71-66 home win over Dayton, which was picked first in the preseason Atlantic 10 poll.
The Wildcats figure to be led all season by graduate student guard Boo Buie, but Northwestern coach Chris Collins was encouraged by what he saw from other players stepping into more expanded roles against the Flyers.
Ryan Langborg scored 19 points and Brooks Barnhizer added 13, and Collins hopes that production will continue against the Broncos (0-2).
“Those two guys did not have a turnover,” Collins said. “Which is awesome, because (the Flyers) were picking them up full court the whole game. For them to take care of the ball, not have a turnover, to play the way they did against the pressure when they were taking Boo away, was huge.”
Western Michigan enters on the opposite side of the spectrum, having dropped its first two games of the season, the latest being a disappointing 77-70 home loss to Georgia State on Saturday.
Former Michigan State assistant coach Dwayne Stephens is in his second season at the helm for the Broncos, who were picked to finish 10th in the preseason Mid-American Conference poll.
Western Michigan lost its top three scorers and top rebounder from last season, so the opening weeks of the new campaign could be a bit of a learning curve for WMU.
One player the Broncos hope to have in the fold against Northwestern is point guard B. Artis White, who missed all of last season with an injury and suffered an injury in the season opener against North Dakota State that kept him out against Georgia State.
“We’re hoping to be able to defend better than we did last year and to take advantage of our size and length on the boards,” Stephens said. “Defense, rebound and run. That’s what we preach.”
–Field Level Media
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