Team preview: Eastern Michigan
Blue Ribbon Yaerbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
There are a lot of Eastern Michigan fans hoping Charles Ramsey can get the Eagles' once-proud program turned around.
Not just because EMU is tired of losing, but Ypsilanti residents are united in pulling for their favorite son. They'd like to see this nice guy -- their guy -- finish first.
Ramsey is Eastern Michigan through and through, having been raised in Ypsilanti and graduating from the school in 1992. He served for four seasons on Eastern basketball staffs during the 1990s before being hired as head coach in 2005.
Eastern has been absent from the MAC Tournament quarterfinals eight straight years, including four 20-loss seasons. The Eagles have not had a winning season since 1999-2000 (15-13). And Ramsey personally felt the sting when EMU struggled to a 7-21 posting in his inaugural season. That included a 1-8 mark in MAC home games.
"It was a great learning experience," Ramsey said about 2005-06. "We've put a system in place and got things in order. There were classroom issues to clean up."
The Eagles lost seven games by five points or less and endured a 10-game losing streak after an encouraging 3-4 start.
"I thought we competed all season and that makes me feel good about the direction our program is heading," Ramsey said.
The key statistic in most EMU losses was turnovers -- they came fast and furious at a rate of 17.4 per contest. Many came at the expense of a freshman point guard (116), who is destined to be one of the top playmakers in the MAC. The other statistic that sticks out is field-goal percentage defense (.477) and Eastern ranked last in the league in that department. No doubt, many of the turnovers resulted in easy baskets at the other end.
"[Carlos Medlock] didn't have any help," Ramsey said. "We had one primary ball handler and teams would double Carlos and run people at him. This season, we'll have multiple ball handlers and that will take the pressure off Carlos."