The 2010 FirstEnergy MAC Men's Tournament begins today with four first round games at various sites. Seeds 5-8 host seeds 9-12. MRO stat guru J. Scott Fitzwater, breaks down the matchups.
Winning teams advance to the tournament quarterfinals Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
No. 6 Eastern Michigan Eagles (16-14, 8-8) vs
No. 11 Northern Illinois Huskies (10-19, 6-10)
YPSILANTI, MI - The Eagles and Huskies split the season series, EMU winning 66-60 in Ypsilanti Feb. 27 and NIU winning 77-69 Jan. 16 in DeKalb. The game in Ypsilanti was an ugly affair with three players on both teams fouling out and 57 total fouls called. The Eagles won four of their last six, with their only loss against the West in their second circuit coming at the hands of Central Michigan, 56-55, in the season finale. The Huskies lost 11 of their last 13 after starting 4-0 in conference play and 8-8 overall.
Carlos Medlock scored 53 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in the two games this season against NIU. Xavier Silas notched 44 points between the two games against EMU. Jake Anderson scored 34 points and secured 18 rebounds in the two contests.
The games were uptempo affairs, the teams averaging 77.5 possessions per game, though neither team scored efficiently (EMU .95 points per offensive possession at DeKalb the best showing).
The winner gets No. 3 seed Akron Thursday at 2 p.m.
No. 8 Ball State Cardinals (15-14, 8-8) vs
No. 9 Ohio Bobcats (17-14, 7-9)
MUNCIE, IND - The Cardinals defeated the Bobcats 67-66 in overtime in Athens in the two teams' only meeting this year. Ohio led by as much as 11 in the second half before the Cardinals came back. Terrence Watson recorded a double-double for BSU, scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
The Cardinals come into the game on a severe skid, dropping their last three games when a single win would have secured at least a share of the West title. The Bobcats have won three of the last four, all three wins coming at home.
Ohio is 2-6 in MAC road games, Ball State 5-3 in MAC home games. Ohio is 8-3 when getting at least 75 possessions. Ball State only reached 75 possessions twice, winning both. The Cardinals are 7-1 when getting at least 70 possessions.
The winner gets No. 1 seed Kent State Thursday at 7 p.m.
No. 5 Buffalo Bulls (17-11, 9-7) vs
No. 12 Toledo Rockets (4-27, 1-15)
BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo won 65-59 at Toledo in their lone meeting this year. Both teams had four players score in double figures. UT shot only six free throws in the game.
Buffalo won 6 of their last 8, including the win at Toledo. The Rockets' lone conference win came Feb. 27 against Ball State, UT's first win since Dec. 10, a 73-72 triumph against IPFW. Toledo has not won on the road this season. UB's John Boyer leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio with 3.5:1.
The Rockets rank 331st nationally in pace (62.2 possessions per 40 minutes) and last in the MAC in conference games (59.7). They also rank last in the conference in offensive and defensive efficiency (.856 and 1.059, respectively). The Bulls rank last in the MAC in defensive efficiency in conference-only games (1.038), but lead the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.230), assists per game (15.4) and assisted basket percentage (61.3%).
The winner gets No. 4 seed Miami Thursday at 9 p.m.
No. 7 Western Michigan Broncos (16-14, 8-8) vs
No. 10 Bowling Green Falcons (14-15, 6-10)
KALAMAZOO, MI - The Broncos edged BG 65-64 in Kalamazoo in their only meeting of the season. David Kool scored 23 points, while four Falcons scored in double figures.
BG lost four of their last five, the lone win a 87-70 victory against Valparaiso in the BracketBuster event. WMU is 3-3 in its last six.
The Broncos are 6-2 in MAC home games, the Falcons 2-6 in MAC road games. BG draws fewer fouls than any other team in the conference (16.4). WMU leads the conference in true shooting (55.1%) and points per weighted shot (1.087) in MAC contests.
The winner gets No. 2 seed Central Michigan Thursday at noon.