Monday, March 9, 2009

MAC Tournament Predictions

The MAC Tournament kicks off in Cleveland on Tuesday and unfortunately yours truly will not be on hand for the opening. But, that won't stop me from listening, or watching, and also giving my take on what I expect to happen.

First Round:
No. 7 CMU defeats No. 10 EMU: I think the third time is the charm for the Chippewas against the Eagles. CMU has a lot of momentum, as does Eastern, but I think the Chippewas want another crack at EMU after the last loss and the manner in which it came.
No. 6 Kent State defeats No. 11 NIU: Kent State is rolling right now as well, defeating Buffalo and Akron in its last two games. KSU is also near Cleveland, which gives the Golden Flashes a nice home-court atmosphere over the Huskies, who have been streaky, and are too young to beat Kent State.
No. 9 Ohio defeats No. 8 WMU: Both teams are struggling with the Bobcats losers in 5-of-their-last-6 and the Broncos losing 4-of-their-last-5, including Sunday's embarrassing loss. Ohio lost to WMU in Kalamazoo by 14, but I think the Broncos lack of offense will hurt them on a neutral floor and I expect Jerome Tillman to step up for Ohio after a disappointing regular season.
No. 5 Akron defeats No. 12 Toledo: There isn't much good to say about Toledo right now and Akron has been playing well despite losing to Kent State on Sunday. Akron will also have a large fan base, which should make this opener an easy win.

Second Round:
No. 7 CMU defeats No. 2 Ball State: Call me a homer, but I think CMU has to love a chance to face Ball State in the second round. The Chippewas have played the Cardinals tough, and Ball State has lost its last two and is coming into the MAC tourney backing in to the No. 2 seed. At this point, CMU would have won three straight and have a day in between games to rest up after a physical game with EMU.
No. 6 Kent State defeats No. 3 Buffalo: I am still skeptical about Buffalo and the Golden Flashes just picked up a win over the Bulls a week ago at home. I think Kent State has the experience in this tournament to pick up a win over Buffalo, which has surprised everyone all season.
No. 1 Bowling Green defeats No. 9 Ohio: Bowling Green has been on a mission this season and Ohio will not be able to stop it. The Falcons just destroyed Ohio 75-41 to end the regular season and swept the season series with the Bobcats. This game shouldn't be any different.
No. 4 Miami defeats No. 5 Akron: I think this game is close and comes down to coaching. Charlie Coles gets an edge in my book here as he has taken less-talented Miami teams deep in the MAC Tournament before (we all remember 2001).

No. 6 Kent State defeats No. 7 CMU: Again, location gives Kent State a big edge as this will practically be a home game for the Flashes. At this point in the week I think the Chippewas' lack of depth starts to play a factor in their play and Kent State wins a competitive game.
No. 1 Bowling Green defeats No. 4 Miami: I think the two best players in the MAC are Bowling Green's Nate Miller and Miami's Michael Bramos. I think Miller has more overall skills while Bramos is primarily a scorer, and I think Miller's contributions push the Falcons past the RedHawks.

MAC Championship:
No. 1 Bowling Green defeats No. 6 Kent State: Kent State will be in its fourth game in five days and that will be a factor as the physical beating it will take will be tough to overcome. Bowling Green has been determined all year and it would be fitting to see the Falcons walk out with the automatic NCAA berth.

That's how I see it. Lord knows Kent State and Bowling Green will now lose their first games.

(Thanks to Ryan Evon for the picture of Hardiman against Ohio)

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