Taking the next step?

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The men’s basketball team improved to 14-17 overall after going 13-18 last season.
 
The Chippewas also were better by one game in the Mid-American Conference, going from 7-9 to 8-8.
 
Their season ended in the MAC quarterfinals again this season with Thursday’s 81-60 loss against Akron.
 
 
So can this season be considered a step in the right direction for coach Ernie Zeigler? Let’s take a look.
 
 Zeigler had practically nowhere to go but up after inheriting a 4-24 team from Jay Smith. By improving nine games, Zeigler didn’t exactly set the bar exceedingly high, but provided CMU fans with a dose of optimism they hadn’t had since 2003.
 
Year two was a little different for Zeigler and the team. There was the good – regular-season wins against Michigan, Akron and Western Michigan. And there was the bad – losing by 20 to the Broncos in the first meeting, a bad loss at Ohio and Thursday’s season-ending loss against Akron.
 
Scoring went up, as Central averaged 71.2 points per game, up from 65.6 last season. But opponents averaged 72.1 points per game against CMU, third-worst in the MAC.
 
Because of the defensive struggles, Zeigler tried several lineup combinations – 11 players averaged at least 10 minutes per game.
 
Making the jump from the cellar to mediocrity was a good first season for Zeigler. The second season proved to be tougher, but it was supposed to be. Taking the next step gets tougher and tougher.

– Robbie Sgro

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