Playing with only one senior on the roster, the 2010-11 season was supposed to be a re-tooling year for Western Michigan. It certainly didn’t play out that way though as WMU overcome a rough nonconference schedule to win the MAC West and reach the conference tournament semifinals.
When all was said and done, WMU amassed a 21-13 record and reached the second round of the CIT before the curtains came down on the season. Here is a look back on how Western Michigan’s 2010-11 campaign played out.
A young Broncos team needed time to mesh together and it showed in the early going. Western Michigan started the season 1-4 before turning a corner. The Broncos followed off that rough start by winning four straight and would enter MAC play with a 7-6 record. In its final nonconference game of the regular season, WMU hosted Illinois State on ESPNU Bracketbuster Saturday, downing the Redbirds 68-65.
The MAC West was pretty bad this year, proven by the division getting seeded with the bottom four teams in the conference tournament. This left a two-team race for the division crown between WMU and Ball State. Both schools beat up on the softer MAC West competition so the year would come down to their head-to-head contests. Ball State won the first meeting with a convincing 72-63 home triumph. Almost two months later, the two teams would meet again in Kalamazoo, with nothing less than a share of the division title at stake. The Broncos took out BSU, 87-70, and followed that win with a 81-68 thumping of Central Michigan to win the MAC West outright.
In the MAC Tournament, Western Michigan knocked off Bowling Green 67-56 in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual tournament champion Akron 79-68 in the semifinals.
The Broncos missed out on both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT, but were still offered a chance to play in the CIT. Western Michigan accepted and didn’t disappoint. Tennessee Tech came calling in the tournament opener, falling 74-66. In the second round, WMU welcomed in MAC foe Buffalo, falling 49-48 on a poor-shooting night. In its final game, Western Michigan shot just 25 percent from beyond the arc and was only able to convert 50 percent of its free throws.
Player Of The Year
Demetrius Ward gets the nod, edging out honorable mention Flenard Whitfield because of his better scoring touch from distance. Ward displayed the ability to score from anywhere on the floor, leading WMU with 13.8 PPG, shooting 39.6 percent from three-point range and was able to convert 77.1 percent of his free throws. Ward also racked up a team-high 1,087 minutes of action, playing in all 34 WMU games.
In a year dominated by the MAC East, Western Michigan did everything that it could to stay competitive. The Broncos overcome youth and a poor start to take the MAC West from a very talented Ball State squad. The Broncos started slow in the MAC semifinals, which led to their loss to Akron, but WMU held its own for the final 30 minutes. In the CIT, Western Michigan rebounded to beat Tennessee Tech before an off night ended the year against an underrated conference foe.
Western Michigan roster
Western Michigan schedule
Western Michigan stats