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The Eastern Echo Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

EMU Men’s Basketball

Opinion: EMU’s men’s basketball has to play almost perfectly to have a chance in the MAC tourney

Eastern Michigan has been inconsistent at best this season. What will they have to do to make a postseason run?

If I could sum up the entirety of this past season for EMU’s basketball team in one word, that word would be "inconsistent." Losing games they were favored to win and winning games they weren’t has been the theme of this season. When you play like that, your record probably isn’t going to boast anything special.

The men currently sit at 16-15 overall and 6-12 in the conference. Their last game against Toledo on March 6 was the final game of the regular season and amounted to a loss, just as I had expected with it being an away game and with EMU Men’s Basketball trending down after their stunning loss to sub-par Western Michigan University.

To be frank, they’re going to have to pull off some magic if they want to make an impact in the MAC tournament.

Eastern’s inconsistencies have been shown time and again throughout the season, like when they started the season on a blazing 9-1 tear. After that, they went 7-13, with multiple losses that were decided by less than five points.

This inconsistency makes it hard for fans and analysts to put any real faith in a postseason run from the Eagles, because they could come out either ice cold or guns blazing. A lot of that depends on Eastern’s go-to guys such as Boubacar Toure, Ty Groce, and Noah Morgan. 

These guys are all Juniors or above, and veteran players are the key to postseason success. Veteran players help take the pressure off of freshman that haven’t necessarily been in the postseason environment. For example, freshman guard Chris James would benefit heavily from the upperclassmen stepping up.

Going back to the players, I predict that Eastern will have to have elite play from Ty Groce and Boubacar Toure. Groce has been a great player this year, acting as one of Eastern’s best defenders. Even though he doesn’t always shoot the rock well, he acts as a leader that makes his team better as a whole.

Boubacar Toure, the big man out of Senegal, is a redshirt senior and has been around Eastern for a long time. He runs the pick and roll extremely well with Groce, as Toure sets hard picks and then rolls quickly to the rim. He plays great defense and also leads the team in blocks (44). Toure will have to play hard 100% of the time and push the underclassmen to play their absolute best.

However, Eastern has many weaknesses that will leave them like a boat without a rutter in the MAC tournament. They struggle heavily with outside shooting, shooting .282% from outside as a team. This makes it hard for them to stay in high scoring games. 

Their other main weakness is a lack of a true passer. Their assist leader, Darion Spotsville, averages only 2.4 assists per game. Lack of ball movement kills the offense and, once again, puts them behind in high scoring games.

The first round of the MAC tournament will be played on March 9. Eastern has been extremely inconsistent this year and fans really shouldn’t expect much in the way of a postseason run. But hey, it’s March. And March is always full of madness.