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Five Things: Central Michigan

FSU is undefeated, tied for No. 1 in the world

NCAA Basketball: Good Sam Empire Classic-Central Michigan at Bellarmine Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State passed their first test, beating up on what could be a tourney team in Kennesaw State. Next up are the Central Michigan Chippewas who come into the Tuck for a 7 PM tilt on Monday. Here’s what you (don’t really) need to know.

1. They’re 0-2. Assuming we’re judging “good” and “bad” by ability to win games then they’re terrible. Their head coach Tony Barbee didn’t do what we’d call a great job at Auburn in that he finished with the worst W-L record in program history, but he did get a player who was shaving points into a pre-trial diversion program without admitting wrongdoing, so we’ll call him a player’s coach. So far at Central Michigan he’s 17-46 (0-2 this season) which may be the worst in program history but I’m not looking it up.

They’re currently pegged as the 333rd best team in the nation, but are pretty up-tempo so that’s fun.

2. The Chippewas are from Mt. Pleasant, which is the oil capitol of Michigan! And while that moniker feels about as impressive as the highest elevation in Florida, at least they lean into it as their high school is the Oilers, and the City seal has an oil drill (being stared at from the other side of the emblem by a noticeably pissed off Chippewa). The highest point in Florida, by the way, is near Lakewood, who sadly chose to be Spartans when they could have been the Mountaineers.

The population of Mt. Pleasant dropped 17% from the 2010 census to the 2020 census, so if you’re looking for a cheap retirement, maybe catch up with Coach Barbee after the game. Mt. Pleasant is the hometown of Tom Crean and Dick Enberg, so there’s that.

3. 40% of the shots taken against Central Michigan in the first two games have been 3s, and they’ve been staggeringly effective at watching them go in (43%). They also jack 3s at a near Golden State clip of 42% of their shots, though they’ve only made 29% at this point. Aiden Rubio is the guy to watch, as he’s made 5-11. Florida State attempted 33 3s in their opener, which was the 5th most all time for a Leonard Hamilton team. The most Darin Green has made in a game is eight, in case you were wondering.

4. The Chippewas brought in 10 new players after last year. Their point guard – Boopie Miller – is now running the show at Wake Forest, and on what was the worst team in Chippewa history, he was kinda their one good player. Teams not named the Fab-5 generally don’t look good when no one knows their teammates names, and Central Michigan has turned it over on 26% of their possessions, which, if it keeps up, would be the worst TO% in history. FSU has only played one game, but they looked pretty handsy, so it looks likely for the good guys to be able to string together some big runs. Look for that to be a theme to the season. The ‘Noles are going to give up lots of uncontested layups and open 3s as the defense flies around and does some things, and hopefully the trade off works in our favor.

5. If FSU wins, it will be the first 2-0 start since Scottie Barnes had to lead a team that rarely practiced together and played in front of empty seats thanks to Covid. Okay, that’s only three years ago, but 2-0 seems like a reasonable expectation for a basketball team, and we’re due, after waiting 11 games last year for the 2nd win (thanks Louisville!).