The MAC Report, Presented by SportsTime Ohio

By Dave DeNatale

I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but it took me a couple of days to recover from all of the excitement of MAC Madness at the Q!  It was a great couple of days of basketball and I felt privileged to be a part of it.

First and foremost, congratulations to the Akron Zips for surviving the grind of four games in five days to win the championship.  What Keith Dambrot’s squad did was pretty remarkable when you consider that they not only played four games, but also three 5-minute overtime periods.  They will now carry the torch for the MAC into the NCAA Tournament this weekend, as they’ll take on Notre Dame in Chicago on Friday.

I also want to tip my cap to Curt Miller and the Bowling Green Falcon women’s basketball team for repeating as MAC tournament champs.  BG had a very interesting year as they won 14 of their first 15 games, then dropped three of five, but have now won 11 straight as they head to Columbus to take on Georgia Tech on Saturday morning.

The MAC will be pretty well represented in some other postseason tournaments as well.  Kent State is set to play at St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in the NIT, while Miami plays in the College Basketball Invitational, and Buffalo, Ohio, and Western Michigan take part in the CollegeInsiders.com tournament.  Five MAC women’s teams will get some postseason exposure as well with Toledo, Kent State, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan heading to the Women’s NIT, and Buffalo participating in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

***Just a note, since this was originally written, Kent State has indeed taken care of business and won their first round NIT game in exciting fashion at St. Mary’s.  Bravo to Geno Ford and his team for recovering from the shock of their OT loss to Akron, and overcoming the long flight and quick-turnaround to beat the Gaels.  Next up will be Fairfield.

I hope the teams that are still playing can represent the MAC well in these next couple of weeks, especially on the occasions when they get some national television exposure.  Admittedly, the Mid-American Conference did not have one of its best seasons, despite how competitive the recent tournament was.  Winning games against other mid-major schools, along with better scheduling and recruiting will be an essential part of improving the MAC’s quality of play.

That said, I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and his staff for all of their hospitality and for their hard work in putting together the tournament.  We here at ESPN Cleveland enjoyed being part of all of the festivities and really appreciate being the official radio stations of the MAC Tournament.  Also, a shout out to our partners at SportsTime Ohio for all of the great work they did in broadcasting not only the tournament, but also the 34 regular season games in their first year with the MAC.

This will not be the last MAC Report, as we’ll keep an eye on how the conference teams are faring in the basketball postseason.  Plus we’ll also take a look at potential NFL draft prospects coming out of the Mid-American Conference as well.

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