Scouting Report: Central Michigan Chippewas
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Scouting Report: Central Michigan Chippewas

Brandon Ramseyabout 2 months


Article written by:Brandon RamseyBrandon Ramsey



The Wildcats are back in action tonight as they host the Central Michigan Chippewas at Rupp Arena. This will be Kentucky’s seventh game in 20 days to begin the season. However, a much deserved rest, at least from game play, is on the other side of tonight’s matchup.

The Chippewas enter tonight’s game 1-4 with back-to-back losses to #1 Gonzaga and Bellarmine out in Las Vegas. Central Michigan is led by long-time John Calipari assistant Tony Barbee in his first season in Mt. Pleasant. His team was picked to finish 10th in the MAC preseason, but a strong transfer portal haul has added an influx of talent to the roster. It will be an uphill battle in year one for Coach Barbee, but good basketball is an expectation at Central Michigan.

Kentucky is riding a five game winning streak since their season-opening loss to the Duke Blue Devils. Tonight’s contest will be the second to last “tune up” game before the ‘Cats travel to Notre Dame on December 11th. Getting, and staying, healthy is the primary goal for the next two weeks.

Let’s dive on in to the scouting report and get to know the Central Michigan Chippewas.

Central Michigan Chippewas Personnel


#2 Kevin Miller: 6’0″ 165 lbs, Freshman Guard

8.2 ppg, 0.4 rpg, 1.6 apg

Will serve as their primary ball handler a lot of the time. Small and thin. You can get up and pressure him full court. Make him uncomfortable. Play him straight up. Capable shooter but more aggressive as a driver. No right hand drives! You can start by hoping under the ballscreens and handoffs if you need to, or just ride over the top. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it and then closeout to contest the initial catch-and-shoot. Driving to pass the deeper he takes it. Do not over help when he drives. No layups for him.

#2 Oscar Lopez Jr.: 6’4″ 200 lbs, Junior Guard

8.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg

Physical guard. Non-shooter. Closeout short so he can’t attack your closeout. No right hand drives! Really wants to attack your closeout and drive it right. Once you take away the initial drive you can pressure him as much as possible without letting him drive it right. Should make him uncomfortable and take it off of him. Loves to shoot the little pull-up or floater as he drives to the basket. Have your hands up to give a hard contest to everything. Will seek out contact. Be ready to be physical and take a charge. Always coming back to finish with his right hand. Uses a shot fake on the perimeter so he can drive it. Stay down on all fakes! We want him to shoot it from the perimeter. No right hand drives.

#0 Brian Taylor: 6’6″ 205 lbs, Junior Guard/Forward

5.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 apg

Shooter! No 3’s! 18 of his 26 shots have been 3’s. Really wants to catch-and-shoot. Need to be tight to him at all times to take away his attempts. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. Chase him off of downscreens and flares. Switch if he sets a ballscreen. Pressure him on the perimeter. If he isn’t dribbling you aren’t close enough. Doesn’t really want to have to handle it. Good athlete. Will crash the glass. Box out.

#1 Ralph Bissainthe: 6’7″ 205 lbs, Redshirt Senior Forward

7.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.5 apg

Stretch 4-man. Long and athletic. 7 of 14 shots have been 3’s through two games. No catch-and-shoot 3’s. Need to be tight enough to take away the initial catch-and-shoot. Likes to drive it right from the trail spot. No right hand drives. You can get out there and pressure him to see if he will turn it over. Just don’t get smoked going right. Right hand, left shoulder inside. Excellent rebounder. BOX OUT!!!

#3 Harrison Henderson: 6’11” 240 lbs, Graduate Student Forward

10.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 apg

Big, physical forward. Talented inside-outside guy. Posts up hard and looks to catch it on the block. No deep post catches. Need to physical and get him off of the block. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. All right hand. Need to be physical on his left shoulder and keep him from turning the corner. Make him score over you. Good shooter. 7/16 from 3. Need to be there to take away the initial catch-and-shoot. Give everything a hard contest. Bad free throw shooter. Foul if you are beat. No And-1s. Excellent rebounder. Box out!



#10 Jermaine Jackson Jr.: 6’0″ 175 lbs, Graduate Student Guard

13.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.0 apg

Very aggressive scoring guard. Will have the ball in his hands a lot. SHOOTER!!! NO 3’s!!! Need to be tight to him at all times to take away his attempts. 34 of his 52 shots have been 3’s. Shooting the same percentage from 3 as he is from 2. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase him off of downscreens and flares. Switch anytime there is space to take away the 3. No help off of him. Contest everything. Pressure him as much as you can without getting smoked going right. When he drives it do not over help. Good passer. Just make him score over you. No layups. No 3’s!!!


#11 Cameron Healy: 6’3″ 190 lbs, Graduate Student Guard

5.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.8 apg

SHOOTER!!! NO 3’s!!! 16 of his 20 shots have been 3’s. Need to be tight to him at all times to take away his attempts. Better from 3 than he is from 2. If he isn’t dribbling you aren’t close enough. Chase him off of downscreens and flares. Switch if there is space to take away the 3. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. No 3’s!


#15 Aundre Polk: 6’10” 210 lbs, Sophomore Forward

4.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.2 apg

Backup big man. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Looking to catch it on the block. No deep post catches. Don’t let him duck you in. His percentages will go down the further off of the block you make him catch it. Be physical on his left shoulder and make him score over you. All right hand. Box out!


#5 Jack Webb: 6’4″ 195 lbs, Freshman Guard

0.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 0.2 apg

SHOOTER! NO 3’s! 7 of his 8 shots have been 3’s. Be tight to him to take away his attempts. Chase him off of downscreens and flares. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. Switch if there is space to take away the 3. Really pressure him when he has it. Make him uncomfortable and steal the ball.

Central Michigan Chippewas Offense

Coach Barbee is keeping things pretty simplistic on the offensive end. The Chippewas are primarily a 4-around-1 Motion team that will stick to that base offense on the vast majority of possessions. They are looking to either go inside to #3 Henderson or spread things out to find a three-point attempt. There isn’t a lot of nuance to what they do, but they know what they are looking for and will go to the well as much as possible.

Instead of running a ton of set plays, Central Michigan just has a few different entries to their Motion offense that will create some early ball movement to the possession. We will take a look at their favorite Motion entries in the clips below.

Per KenPom, Central Michigan is 15th nationally with 43.3% of their points coming from behind the arc. They attempt 26 triples per game so they are going to be letting it fly tonight. However, they are ineffective from two, are among the worst on the glass, and are bad at the free throw line. We should have a decided advantage inside once again.

Handoff to Downhill Ballscreen

This is one of the entries that Central Michigan runs to get into their Motion. Based on the film it appears the call is “Pacer.” It begins with a downscreen to the corner. The ball immediately tossed back to the point guard who receives a downhill ballscreen to attack the baseline. At that point they are just into their 4-around-1 Motion. #3 Henderson is posting up hard and they eventually get him the ball on the block. Have to make him score with you between him and the basket.

Secondary Staggered Double

In terms of Motion entries, this look is definitely their favorite. From a secondary alignment they will reverse the ball through the trail spot as the forward follows the ball on the block. They will then set a staggered double away to the guard coming out of the corner. While they look at the staggered double, but they are really running this action to occupy the defense while they look at the post. Don’t let #3 Henderson get to his left shoulder like this.

Three off Staggered Double

Just like the last clip, Central Michigan goes to the staggered double away from a secondary alignment. This time they hit #11 Healy off of the double for a wide open three. If you run into the screen you have to communicate the switch to take away the three.

Floppy to Cross Screen

Here is a look at a called action they go to when they want to throw it inside to #3 Henderson. They will begin in Floppy with an automatic curl on the left side as #32 Lopez curls to set a cross screen for #3 Henderson. Once again, he is determined to get to his left shoulder and finish with his right hand. Make him score with you between him and the basket!


Bad defense keeps this clip from showing Central Michigan flow into Motion, but they will also use this Horns set as a Motion entry. The simply ballscreen and roll as the opposite forward lifts to the top of the key to get into their 4-around-1 base.

Central Michigan Chippewas Defense

The Central Michigan Chippewas are a man-to-man team on the defensive end that will try to use their length and athleticism to their advantage. They have quick guards, physical wings, and some size inside to at least match us on paper. However, that hasn’t been the case so far this season as they are near the bottom nationally in 2-point defense, rebounding, and adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom. This is a team that we need to focus on not turning the ball over and executing at a high level against. If we do that, we will score 80 or more and shouldn’t have any problems.

Keys to the Game-Central Michigan

  • Take them away from 3. Averaging 26 attempts per game. #10 Jackson Jr., #3 Henderson, #0 Taylor, and #11 Healy are all very good shooters. Limit their attempts. Hold them to 22 or fewer attempts.
  • Pressure the ball. Be aggressive on the defensive end. We can force 18+ turnovers tonight. Take calculated risks to go take the ball off of people. Don’t leave the shooters.
  • Dominate the glass. They rank near the bottom in both offensive and defensive rebounding. This should be another domination on the boards.
  • Go score 85+. We’ve done a great job of just continuing to score the basketball the last few games. There will be runs by them and cold spells by us. Take it one possession at a time and execute offensively.

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