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NIU

NIU men's basketball preview: Huskies vs. Eastern Michigan

Tip-off: 3:30 p.m. Saturday at NIU's Convocation Center in DeKalb.

Records: NIU, 8-7, 1-1 in Mid-American Conference; EMU, 10-5, 0-2 in MAC.

All-time series: NIU owns a 54-44 advantage in the series against the Eagles, but lost to Eastern Michigan twice last season.

Who to watch: In all reality, Eugene German could be the choice in this category for every game, but this one in particular presents a challenge in the form of the Eagles' 2-3 zone. German did not play due to suspension in the Huskies' first game against the Eagles last year, a 57-49 loss. He scored 22 on 6 of 10 3-point shooting in a 75-69 loss to the Eagles on March 2. The Huskies will need German to create in and around the zone. A new name to the fold for the Eagles, guard Yeikson Montero is a junior guard playing his first season with the Eagles. He hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points in EMU's 74-68 loss to Ohio Tuesday.


The lowdown: The Eagles are led in scoring (12.2 ppg) by 6 foot, 8 inch forward Ty Groce, who picked up the scoring slack left by forever Eagle and now graduated James Thompson IV. Don't be surprised by a low-scoring game. EMU is last in the MAC in scoring (66.4 ppg) and NIU is second-to-last (68.7). Meanwhile NIU is keeping opponents from getting hot from the floor, holding foes to 39.6% shooting, the second-best total in the conference behind Akron.

Key to the game: If the Huskies win this game, it's either as a result of German scoring a boatload of point, at least four Huskies scoring 9 or 10 points, or someone other than German steps up mightily in the scoring column. NIU also has to weather the storm late, as the Huskies have had furious runs mounted against them in each of its two MAC games.

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