Wednesday's loss to Ball State was a big one. It was a two-game swing. A win and CMU is in a three-way tie for first in the MAC West, but instead the Chips lost and are two games back of Ball State and one game behind Western.
In order to have any shot, (understanding that even the best shot is still slim at this point) CMU has to win its final three games. Eastern and Toledo at home are certainly winnable. The Chips lost to both on the road but both were prior to CMU's style change that has made it much more competitive. CMU has been strong on the road, winning its last three and five of its last six in Rose Arena. The final game is at Western, which will be tough to win, as CMU hasn't won in Kalamazoo since the 2002-03 season. But, a win there would allow CMU to get even with the Broncos, assuming Western wins its next two games.
The tricky part becomes Ball State, which has to then lose two games. One of the three remaining games is at Western on Mar. 4 and the Broncos will have to win that game to have a shot at the West title, so I expect the Broncos to give their best there. The other two games are Saturday at Northern Illinois, which could be tough as the Huskies took it to WMU on Wednesday at home, and the final game is at home with Eastern, which should be a win for the Cardinals. So essentially, you have to hope that Western and Ball State lose their road games and CMU runs the table. Not the likeliest of scenarios for various reasons, but winning the West is still possible and I know Ernie Zeigler has his team still believing. After all, an 8-8 record in the MAC would still be quite an accomplishment this season. I would have picked CMU to go about 4-12 in the MAC prior to the start of conference play.
Labels: CMU men's basketball, Ernie Zeigler, MAC West