MAC Tourney Tonight

Western Michigan looks to extend its three-game winning streak when the team host Toledo tonight in the opening round of the 2003 First Energy Mid-American Conference Tournament. The No. 5 seed Broncos and No. 12 seed Rockets will meet for the third time this season, having split a pair of regular season matchups. WMU is hosting a first round contest for the second straight season.

BRONCOS SEARCHING FOR MAC TOURNEY WINS

Western Michigan has already reached numerous accomplishments not attained in recent years by the program and Monday's MAC Tournament game provides the opportunity to establish another benchmark by the current squad.

The Broncos haven't collected a victory in league postseason play since defeating Ohio 74-68 on the road in 1997 (WMU didn't qualify for event in 1999). Not even the 1997-98 NCAA Tournament squad was able to come away victorious, falling 67-63 at home to Miami.

In the 14 previous league tournaments (10 of which WMU has qualified for), where first round games have been played on campus sites, the Broncos have yet to claim a victory in Kalamazoo.

WIN TOTAL RANKS AMONG BEST IN PROGRAM HISTORY

Western Michigan's victory over Northern Illinois night was the team's 18th of the season, surpassing the win total from 2001-02 (17-11).

Since the program's inception in 1913-14, only three editions have collected more than 17 victories (seven times) in a single season. Each of those occasions resulted in postseason play for the Broncos. The 1975-76 team finished 25-3 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In 1997-98, WMU posted a 21-8 slate and again claimed a victory in the NCAA's. A 21-9 record in 1991-92 resulted in the squad's selection as a participant in the National Invitaiton Tournament.

WMU has already posted 35 overall victories in the past two campaigns after collecting just 28 wins in the previous three seasons combined. Only Kent State has claimed more conference victories (29) in the past two campaigns than the 20 league wins the Broncos own.

FORGET THE SHOES, IT MUST BE THE UNIFORMS

A popular advertising campaign several years ago tried to convince consumers that a certain brand of shoes could provide the ingredients needed to develop into a successful basketball player.

While equipment can provide a significant advantage in some sports (golf, tennis, etc.), it's hard to make that argument in collegiate hoops. WMU's recent three-game winning streak, however, may provide some credibility to that philosophy.

Western Michigan received gold uniforms this season and the new fashion statement made its debut against Kent State on Feb. 1. The apparel change unfortunately didn't help as the Broncos fell 78-71. However, the coaching staff dusted off the uniforms one more time for the Ball State contest on March 1, hoping to snap a two-game skid in the process.

The Broncos not only defeated the Cardinals, but have now won three-straight outings while sporting the gold uniforms and plan on wearing them again Monday night against Toledo. Saturday's contest at Northern Illinois marked the first time all season the squad hasn't worn black on the road.

MADISON WAITS UNTIL FINAL MOMENTS TO SHINE

As WMU's game at Northern Illinois headed to overtime, junior Bobby Madison had collected a respectable contribution of two points, two rebounds and a pair of steals in 27 minutes of play. Little did he know that his most important action would come in the extra session.

The Columbiana, Ala., native, who hadn't made a trip to the line the entire contest, knocked down 5-of-6 attempts in the final 32 seconds to seal the Bronco victory. His pair of charity tosses with six seconds on the clock made it a two-possession game and forced the Huskies to take a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer, which Madison rebounded.

Madison entered the game shooting just over 60 percent from the line on the season.

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