Inside MAC Men’s Basketball Week 5: Can MAC Leaders Avoid Trap Games?
By Evan Meyer
This Week in Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball, there are a number of what are called ‘danger games’ or ‘trap games’ for the four leaders this week. Akron takes their winning streak to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday before heading home to play Bowling Green. Ohio has a trip to Central Michigan before meeting Kent State for a second time. Western Michigan heads to Bowling Green, while Toledo has road games at Buffalo & Central Michigan.
Last week, UA squeaked out a pair of wins over Central Michigan and Miami to continue their winning streak, currently at 15 games, which is the longest current streak in all of Division I. Ohio continued to nip at their heels with wins over Ball State & Bowling Green, while in the West, Toledo pulled into a tie with Western Michigan as the Rockets got wins over Miami and Eastern Michigan.
Here is a look back and a look ahead at the 12 MAC Men’s Basketball teams:
AKRON (19-4, 10-0 MAC)
The Zips won both of their games last week but had to rally in the second half in each of them to beat Central Michigan at home. Then on the road at Miami, Brian Walsh connected on a three-pointer with 4:19 remaining to give UA the lead for good. This week the Zips travel to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday before heading home on Saturday to face Bowling Green.
LAST WEEK: 68-56 win vs, Central Michigan, 54-50 win at Miami
BOWLING GREEN (8-13, 3-5)
The Falcons split their two games last week defeating Northern Illinois at home 57-41 thanks to 15 points and 12 rebounds from A’uston Calhoun. Then on Saturday, they traveled to Athens and fell to the harc charging Bobcats 72-63. This week BGSU faces Western Division co-leaders Western Michigan at home on Wednesday before heading to Akron on Saturday to face the streaking Zips.
LAST WEEK: 57-41 win at Western Michigan, 72-63 loss at Ohio
BUFFALO (9-15, 4-6)
The Bulls split their two games this week, dropping a 65-46 decision at Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night before rebounding at home for a 59-54 win over Northern Illinois thanks to Javon McCrea who scored 16 points and had six rebounds. This week UB faces the red hot Toledo Rockets on Wednesday before heading to Miami on Saturday to face the Redhawks.
LAST WEEK: 65-46 loss at Eastern Michigan, 54-50 win over NIU
KENT STATE (13-11, 4-6)
The Golden Flashes split their two games last week, losing at Western Michigan 82-76 but then on Saturday blitzing Central Michigan at home 87-72. Five players scored in double figures in their win, led by Chris Evans who had 19 points before suffering an ankle injury late in the game. This week KSU is home to Miami on Wednesday night then head to Ohio on Saturday to battle the Bobcats.
LAST WEEK: 82-76 loss @ Western Michigan, 87-72 win over CMU
MIAMI (8-14, 3-7)
The Redhawks lost both games this week in heartbreaking fashion. On Wednesday night at Toledo 65-64 on a three-pointer at the buzzer, then on Saturday at home against Akron holding an eight-point lead midway through the second half before the Zips emerged from a defensive struggle with a 54-50 win. This week MU heads to Kent State on Wednesday night before returning home on Saturday against Buffalo.
LAST WEEK: 65-64 loss @ Toledo, 54-50 loss vs. Akron
OHIO (17-6, 8-1)
The Bobcats stayed on the heels of the streaking Akron Zips with two wins last week, starting with a dominating performance on both ends of the court at Ball State 65-42. Then on Saturday, they defeated Bowling Green 72-63 before a crowd of over 10,000 at the Convocation Center. This week the Cats head to Central Michigan on Wednesday before returning home Saturday to host Kent State.
LAST WEEK:65-42 win @ Ball State , 72-63 win vs. Bowling Green
BALL STATE (9-13,3-7)
The Cardinals faced two of the MAC heavyweights last week and came up with a split. After a lackluster loss against Ohio, BSU ended Western Michigan’s seven-game winning streak with a 65-62 win on Saturday thanks to a career best 30 points from Juwan Scaife. This week the Cards head to Northern Illinois on Wednesday then return home to face Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
LAST WEEK: 65-42 loss vs. Ohio, 65-62 win vs. Western Michigan
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (9-14, 2-8)
The Chippewas lost both of their games last week, beginning on Tuesday night at Akron after leading the East front-running Zips for most of the game, they fell late in the second half 68-56. Then on Saturday at Kent State, they were blitzed by a barrage of Golden Flashes points 87-72. This week CMU has two home games first with Ohio on Wednesday night then home to Toledo on Saturday.
LAST WEEK: 68-56 loss @ Akron, 87-72 loss @Kent State
EASTERN MICHIGAN (11-12, 4-5)
The Eagles split their two games this week, picking up a win on Wednesday night at home against Buffalo 65-46 thanks to 17 points and four blocked shots by Glenn Bryant. Then on Saturday at Toledo, they gave the Rockets all they could handle before falling 60-52 despite a career high 19 points and 10 rebounds from Daylen Harrison. This week EMU faces East Division leading Akron on Wednesday then head to Ball State on Saturday to battle the Cardinals.
LAST WEEK: 65-46 win vs. Buffalo, 60-52 loss @ Toledo
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (5-17, 3-7)
The Huskies lost both games last week, and are stuck in a three-game losing streak after losing at home to Bowling Green on Wednesday night 57-41, and then to Buffalo on Saturday. This week NIU entertains Ball State at home on Wednesday before heading to Western Michigan on Saturday.
LAST WEEK: 57-41 loss vs. Bowling Green, 59-54 loss @Buffalo
TOLEDO (11-10, 7-3)
The Rockets won both games last week, extending their winning streak to five games and pulled into a first place tie with Western Michigan atop the West with a 65-64 home win over Miami. Then on Saturday, they defeated Eastern Michigan 60-52 thanks to 29 points from Rian Pearson. This week, UT has two road games first at Buffalo on Wednesday night then at Central Michigan on Saturday.
LAST WEEK: 65-64 win vs. Miami, 60-52 win vs. Eastern Michigan
WESTERN MICHIGAN (15-8, 7-3)
The Broncos split their two games last week, as they extended their winning streak to seven games Wednesday night with a 82-76 home win over Kent State thanks to a career-high 22 points from David Brown. The streak ended on Saturday at Ball State losing to the Cardinals 65-62. This week WMU heads to Bowling Green on Wednesday before returning home to face Northern Illinois on Saturday.
There you have it; this week’s edition of INSIDE MAC MEN’S BASKETBALL with Akron and Ohio clearly the top two teams with six games remaining. Barring a collapse, the pair should lock up the top two seeds in the upcoming 2013 First Energy MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament–which is just one month away at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. However, there is still a lot to play for especially in the Western Division between Toledo and Western Michigan.