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Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Junior Julius Brown is tied for ninth in the nation with 6.3 assists per game.

Toledo Visits CMU on Tuesday Looking to Maintain Grasp on MAC's Top Spot

Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Release: 03/03/2014
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QUICK HITTERS
•  Toledo (24-5, 12-4 MAC) enters its final week of its regular season in a three-way tie for the best record in the Mid-American Conference. The Rockets begin their week with a trip to Mt. Pleasant, MI to battle Central Michigan (10-18, 3-13 MAC) on Tuesday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. before hosting Eastern Michigan (17-12, 9-7 MAC) in its regular-season finale on Saturday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m.
•  UT has already secured a trip to Cleveland for the 2014 MAC Tournament and can finish no lower than the tourney’s No. 3 seed. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will advance straight to the MAC Semifinals, while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will open play in the MAC Quarterfinals.
•  Tuesday’s contest will feature two of the MAC’s top two offensive teams with Toledo topping the conference at 81.0 ppg and CMU in third place at 73.3 ppg.
•  Junior guard Julius Brown ranks fifth in MAC scoring with a team-high 15.0 ppg. Senior guard Rian Pearson and junior guard Justin Drummond rank ninth and 11th in the league with 14.5 and 14.3 ppg, respectively. Junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon is also scoring at an 11.3 clip to go along with a team-high 6.8 rpg.
•  The Rockets moved into a tie for the league’s best record last Saturday with a remarkable 96-85 (OT) home victory over WMU. UT trailed the Broncos 75-63 with 3:12 left before going on a 14-2 run to send the game into overtime. Toledo never trailed in the extra session with Brown and Weatherspoon each scoring six points. Drummond led Toledo with a career-high 28 points and eight rebounds.
•  The Chippewas are paced offensively by sophomore guard Chris Fowler, who ranks third in the MAC in scoring at 17.9 ppg. He is joined in double figures by freshman guard Braylon Rayson and sophomore forward John Simons at 10.6 ppg apiece.
•  The Rockets have a five-game win streak in their series with the Chippewas, including an 86-71 win in Savage Arena on Jan. 11.
  Toledo is 8-0 this season in games decided by four points or less.

IF THE REGULAR SEASON ENDED TODAY...
      Toledo’s 12-4 league win-loss mark is currently tied for the best record in the MAC with Buffalo and Western Michigan. UT holds the No. 1 seed though due to  its 2-1 head-to-head record vs. the Bulls and Broncos. Buffalo would be the No. 2 seed and Western Michigan would be the No. 3 seed if all three teams finish with identical league records. The remaining order of seeds for the tournament would be: 4) Akron; 5) Ohio; 6) Eastern Michigan; 7) Northern Illinois; 8) Kent State; 9) Miami; 10) Bowling Green; 11) Central Michigan; 12) Ball State.

MAKING SOME HISTORY
      Toledo tied its school record for most victories in a season — 24 — with Saturday’s 96-85 (OT) victory over Western Michigan. The previous mark was established in the 1939-40 season. The Rockets have notched their first 20-win campaign since 2005-06 as well as their 19th 20-win in school history.

      Below is a listing of most wins in school history.
1.  2013-14.............................................................................................. 24
     1939-40................................................................................................ 24
3.  1979-80................................................................................................ 23
     1966-67................................................................................................ 23
     1941-42................................................................................................ 23 

A ROCKET VICTORY OVER CENTRAL MICHIGAN WOULD...
• Improve UT’s record to 25-4 overall and 13-4 in MAC play.
• Give Toledo its most victories (25) in school history.
• Keep the Rockets tied for the MAC’s best league record. UT is currently tied with Buffalo and Western Michigan at 12-4.
• Extend the Rockets’ win streak over the Chippewas to six games.
• Improve UT’s road record to 9-5 this season. The last time UT posted a winning record away from home was an 11-7 ledger in 2000-01.

ROCKETS RANKING AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
      Toledo’s impressive play in the 2013-14 campaign has been buoyed by a high-scoring offense that ranks 15th nationally in the latest national rankings (through games played Sunday, March 2) with 81.0 ppg. The Rockets also rank in the Top 35 in assist/turnover ratio (24th/1.4) and turnover margin (19th/+3.).

TALKING ABOUT UT’S HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE ...
      Toledo has won 28 of its last 33 home games (including 18 of its last 21 vs. MAC opponents) dating back to 2011-12 and is 14-0 this season. UT posted an 11-8 ledger in Savage Arena in 2011-12 for its first winning home record since the 2007-08 campaign when it registered a 9-3 mark. After experiencing just one losing home campaign (7-9 in 1991-92) in the previous 51 years, the Rockets notched 6-7, 4-11 and 4-12 win-loss marks for a combined 14-30 (.318) ledger over the previous three years (2008-11) in Savage Arena.
      Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk posted a 76-28 home record (.731) during his eight-year Green Bay tenure. In his last three seasons, the Phoenix were even better at home by posting a 35-9 (.795) win-loss mark.
      Prior to the last three seasons, UT had posted a 55-8 (.873) home record for a five-year period from 2003-08 and was 107-23 (.823) on its homecourt from 1998-2008.

TALKING ABOUT UT’S HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE (PART II)...
      Toledo’s 15-game homecourt win streak is its longest since winning 15 in a row from Jan. 26, 2006-Feb. 17, 2007.
      During UT’s current streak, the Rockets’ average margin of victory is 13.3 ppg with five games decided by less than nine points — a 71-67 win over Cleveland St. (Dec. 21), a 67-65 buzzer-beating victory over Buffalo (Jan. 15), an 81-78 triumph over Kent State (Jan. 26), an 83-76 win over Bowling Green (Feb. 5) and an 82-76 victory over Ohio (Feb. 12).
      The last time Toledo opened its season with more than seven straight home victories was when it won its initial eight contests of the 2006-07 campaign. That season, the Rockets posted a 10-1 home ledger and were 8-0 in conference home games en route to capturing the 2006-07 MAC regular-season title.
      The last time UT won each of its first 14 home games was when it posted a perfect 14-0 ledger in the Field House its 1966-67 campaign.

ON THE HORIZON
      Toledo closes out its regular season at home against EMU (17-12, 9-7 MAC) on Saturday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m. The contest will be televised by Time Warner Cable’s SportsChannel and will be the sixth home game televised on that network this season. The Rockets also have had three road contests nationally televised on ESPNU.

 

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