Central Michigan must be considered one of the favorites to represent the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) in the NCAA Tournament.
At 89.4 points per game, CMU isn’t one of the top scoring offenses in Division 1. However, they do feature one of the Nation’s best overall scorers in Marcus Keene. He averages 29.9 points per game for the Chippewas, a mark that very few NCAA Division 1 athletes can come close to.[DanielG]
Central Michigan is currently fighting for control of the MAC Western division. Sitting with a conference record of 6-7, they are battling with Ball State, Northern Illinois, and Toledo for the alpha dog spot. While the consensus is Akron ( who sport an 11-1 conference record ) will be the MAC team to beat, it will be Marcus Keene that makes all the difference for Central Michigan.
The 5’9 guard is the X-Factor for CMU. A transfer from Youngstown State, Keene didn’t play for the Chippewas during the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Keene was the sixth-leading scorer in the Horizon League during the 2014-15 season. In addition, he ranked second in the conference in 3-pointers made.
Central Michigan has finished as the MAC regular season champs for the last two seasons. However, that has not resulted in any NCAA Tournament appearances. The hope is that Keene can be the missing link to give the Chippewas their first Tournament berth since 2003. To do that they will need to win the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. This means a likely matchup with Akron, whom Central Michigan lost to on January 10th, by a score of 85-89.
With Marcus Keene settled as one of the Nation’s most dynamic scorers, Central Michigan is primed to make a run at the NCAA Tournament. And even if things don’t work out this season, Keene is only a Junior, so there’s still one year of eligibility remaining. But make no mistake about it, the Chippewas want to make the Big Dance this season, and they will get there on the play of one man.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288