The MAC Report, Presented by SportsTime Ohio

By Dave DeNatale

I want to start by sharing some pearls of wisdom from my colleague and play-by-play man for MAC games on STO…the one, the only, Michael Reghi:

***Here’s the deal…literally, any of six squads in my estimation, could potentially win the MAC tourney. Is that good for the league? Fans might say ‘yes’. While it may bring some excitement over three days and seven games to downtown Cleveland, the conference’s RPI continues to plummet. Look for the teams in the final two weeks that can win on the road, especially in the MAC East, and who have the staying power to win three games in three days, which some of the six don’t. The MAC ‘MUST’ get back to the relevancy it established in sending multiple teams to the NCAA tournament, and winning games when there, as they did from the late 90′s into the early years of this decade. Until that is achieved, the ‘one bid league’ handle is going to continue to apply.

I couldn’t have said it better.  Now on to this week’s blog!!!

We saw some great action in the conference over the weekend as we get into the final stretch before next weekend’s tournament at the Q.  Some teams are really starting to gain momentum and find themselves, none more so than Akron.   Suddenly the Zips are unstoppable, winning seven in a row, and eight of their last nine.  MAC East Player of the Week Nik Cvetinovic has come up big for Akron over the last few games, with 20-plus-point performances against Miami and Buffalo.  The work that Cvetinovic and Zeke Marshall have done in the middle has opened up room for Brett McKnight, Steve McNees and Darryl Roberts to hit from beyond the arc.  More importantly, Akron is playing much better defense as of late.

Don’t count out defending champion Ohio from making a run yet again.  The Bobcats have strung together eight wins in their last ten games.  We know Ohio can score; the key is can they get enough from their defense?  I was so impressed that they went into the M.A.C. Center and knocked off Kent State on Saturday.  That’s not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  Speaking of the Flashes, that loss drops them into a first-place tie with Miami with just two games to go.  Kent had played well last week, winning at Western Michigan and then turning around and beating Buffalo three days later.  But they were flat at the start against Ohio and had to use all their energy to force overtime before falling at the end.

And out west, Ball State and Western Michigan are on a collision course to play for the MAC West regular season title this week.  Both teams handled their business over the weekend, although the Cardinals had to rally from 23 down at CMU to come back and get a win.  That should be a great one on Wednesday in Kalamazoo.

SportsTime Ohio will have a pair of games on the schedule to wrap up the regular season this week.  Tuesday night, Michael Reghi and Steve Mix will be at Anderson Arena as Bowling Green hosts Kent State.  The Falcons are in a horrible slide right now and would love to start off the final week of games at “The House That Roars” with a big win against the Flashes.  On Wednesday, the guys will be in Buffalo for the Bulls against the Miami Redhawks.  Miami has a chance to get one of those key road wins that Reg was talking about earlier as they try to steal the MAC East from Kent.  Buffalo, like BG, has been in a tough skid and could use this victory to get them back in a winning mindset with the tournament just around the corner.  STO’s coverage for both games will begin at 7:30.

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