The MAC Report, Presented by SportsTime Ohio

By Dave Denatale

Can you believe the MAC Tournament is just three weeks away?  As the 12 teams jockey for position heading down the stretch, this weekend represents a critical test for the conference in general.  It’s Bracketbuster Time!

 

Let me say this: I have been involved in covering the MAC for 17 years and have enjoyed watching some of the most fun and competitive basketball out there.   But right now, the conference as a whole has fallen behind some of the other mid-majors out there.  The Colonial Athletic and Horizon League have had teams in the Final Four in the past five years.  The MAC’s RPI rating is 20th among Division I conferences.

 

That’s the reason why this weekend is so vital for the MAC.  If this conference is to make a move forward, they have to win against comparable teams from other mid-major programs.  The MAC will surely only send one team to the NCAA Tournament this March, that being the tournament champion.  But a strong performance this weekend could help send some other MAC teams to NIT or the CBI.

 

Here are some of the Bracketbuster Games of Note:

 

Kent State at Drexel—The Golden Flashes have won six of their last seven but face a tough battle against the Dragons who come out of the CAA.  Kent has to fight road weariness after losing an overtime battle to Miami on Wednesday and facing a tough roadie at Western Michigan this Monday.

 

Miami at James Madison—Like Kent, the Redhawks will get a good CAA team on national television.  Miami has surged to the top spot in the MAC East after knocking off the Flashes as Julian Mavunga and Nick Winbush have really picked up the slack in place of the injured Antonio Ballard.

 

Milwaukee at Buffalo—Cleveland State fans can tell you how dangerous a game this will be for the Bulls.  Buffalo has lost two straight and is starting to fall behind the leaders in the MAC East.  The Panthers on the other hand have won seven straight.

 

Ball State at Wofford—The Cardinals face the challenge of a Terrier team that is 12-4 in the Southern Conference and an NCAA Tournament team last March.  Ball State has suddenly lost their hold on first place in the MAC West and could really use a win to give them momentum.

 

Creighton at Akron—The Zips looked absolutely dynamite in dismantling Bowling Green on Tuesday night at Anderson Arena.  Akron seems like they are starting to find themselves at the right time, but they’ll be hosting a Bluejay team that is a perennial contender in the Missouri Valley Conference.

 

Because of the Bracketbuster games, the guys at SportsTime Ohio get a well-deserved weekend off.  Next game for Michael Reghi and Steve Mix will be Bowling Green at Ohio on Wednesday night.  The Falcons have tumbled from first to fourth place in the MAC East after losing three of their last four games.  This game with the Bobcats will be the second of three straight road games for the Falcons so this really will be a big game for Louis Orr’s team.  Ohio, meantime, has gotten back to .500 and I still think they’ll be a dangerous team heading towards the tournament.  Coverage of BG at Ohio comes your way at 7:30 on Wednesday on STO!

Follow Dino on Twitter – @dinocleveland

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