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Mizzou opens the season against Central Michigan

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And Boogie Coleman has to be licking his chops.

NCAA Basketball: MAC Conference Tournament - Toledo vs Ball State Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In the past once we’ve gotten the non-conference schedule for basketball I’ve put together little blurbs on each team. We haven’t gotten the full schedule just yet, but we do know some teams and some dates, including the season opener:

Here are the other knowns:

  • November 18th — Jacksonville Classic vs Northern Illinois, at Mizzou Arena
  • November 21st — Jacksonville Classic - vs SMU / then either Florida State or Loyola Marymount on the 22nd
  • November 26th — vs Wichita State at Mizzou Arena
  • December 2nd — vs Lib***y Fl*m*s at where ever it is they play
  • December 7th — vs Eastern Illinois at Mizzou Arena
  • December 11th — Mizzou vs Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse, also Brandon Kiley’s wedding day
  • December 18th — vs Utah at Mizzou Arena
  • December 22nd — Braggin’ Rights: Mizzou vs Illinois, ScottTrade Center
  • January 29th — Big 12 / SEC Challenge vs Iowa State, at Iowa State

So we’re likely looking at another filler game or two between the opener against Central Michigan on the 9th, and the Jacksonville Classic on the 18th, and then something after the Braggin’ Rights game. I wouldn’t expect anything groundbreaking with the remaining opponents, but probably one or two solid mid majors who won’t kill your non-con rankings and will still hold up by the end of the year in the NET. But games you should definitely still win.

So let’s talk about CMU.

the Central Michigan Chippewas!

Head Coach: Tony Barbee

Syndication: Louisville Mike Weaver/Special to Courier Journal

Yes, that Tony Barbee. The same guy who was fired from his job at Auburn after four years and never winning more than 15 games. Barbee did have success in building UTEP back in his four years there. Barbee is responsible for one of just three NCAA tournaments at UTEP in the last 20 years, and he did that as an at large. Barbee is perhaps most well known for being a John Calipari guy. He played for Cal at UMass, then rejoined the program as a GA and was promoted to assistant under Bruiser Flint. Cal brought Barbee with him to Memphis, and then Barbee got the UTEP job before Cal took the Kentucky job.

Then after Barbee moved from UTEP to Auburn and was fired at Auburn, Cal hired him at Kentucky where he’s been since... up until this past summer. Under pressure to reshape his staff, Cal helped Barbee find a soft landing spot in in lovely Mount Pleasant, Michigan since the Chippewas had recently fired their head coach Keno Davis after nine seasons of mostly mediocre basketball.

Barbee takes over a program who really only had one good year under Davis, in 2014-15, when they were led by Webster Groves native guard Rayshawn Simmons (among others) and finished 12-6 in league play, but an otherwise forgettable tenure in an otherwise forgettable MAC program.

History

The two programs have played exactly one time. Which frankly is surprising considering the MAC is a solid mid-major league and it’s fairly close. The game was played in 2007, on November 12th and DeMarre Carroll led all scorers with 23 points, and Missouri beat Central Michigan 87-76. All the links on this game are basically broken except for this one from Bill’s links post.

Syndication: LafayetteIN Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier, Lafayette Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Chippewas have only made the NCAA tournament twice since I’ve been alive (I’m over 40 years old — so that’s not great). They were MAC champions in 1986, led by a 6’6 wing named Dan Majerle, and got bounced in the first round. Then a Chris Kaman-led CMU squad took out Creighton in the 2003 first round before bowing in the second round to Duke. Since then it’s been a tough stretch. Davis was mostly fine, but never broke through in his nine years so a move was made.

The only other connection, Jarron ‘Boogie’ Coleman. Coleman scored 24 points against CMU last year in their conference game. He made 6 of his 9 attempted three pointers which is something that might be music to the ears of Missouri fans.

What about the team now?

Good question. CMU was ranked 281 in kenpom last year and they finished 7-16. A good reason to fire your coach, right? When Keno Davis was shown the door, two of the team’s three leading scorers also walked out the door via transfer, leaving the roster in need of scoring after also not being very good. So I wouldn’t expect all that much improvement from this year’s squad, though it’s hard to imagine things being that much worse considering their next to last place finish in the league a year ago.

They do return Trevon Broadway, a senior from Miami, FL (side note: I love the idea of a kid from Miami choosing Central Michigan as his destination, talk about culture/weather shock). Broadway was the team’s best player, leading scorer and it’s most efficient player. They also return their starting point guard and leading minutes guy in Devontae Lane, so not all is lost for CMU as they look to kickstart the Barbee era this year.