MAC Basketball Review: Everybody Back In The Pool

Akron 59, Toledo 41 (box)
Western Michigan 75, Bowling Green 61 (box)
Kent State 66, Central Michigan 53 (box)
Miami 58, Eastern Michigan 56 (box)
OHIO 80, Northern Illinois 73 (box)
Ball State 72, Buffalo 71 (box)

KENT STATE is back in first place, and all they had to do was show up against a team that would take care of their own missed baskets. Apologies to BUFFALO and BOWLING GREEN for talking them up last night and then seeing both of them lose games to the MAC West, the only East teams to do so. Buffalo's win was less demoralizing, a one-point affair at BALL STATE, who really needed this win to gain some confidence, not to mention end this four-game losing streak. Meanwhile, BG was curiously playing catch-up all day at home to WESTERN MICHIGAN, a team silently on the rise after winning three of four, including two straight on the road. As has MIAMI, who averted crisis in Ypsilanti with a furious comeback. And let us not sleep on OHIO or AKRON either, as both teams took care of business to remain tied for last place at 4-5, which would be good enough for third in the MAC West. NORTHERN ILLINOIS is honestly playing about as well as we'd expect out of them, as no true secondary player has emerged for them. Likewise for EASTERN MICHIGAN, who — we might finally admit — is not going to contend this year. And the less said about TOLEDO and CENTRAL MICHIGAN, the better.

Today's Top Five:
G Zach Filzen, Buffalo — 26 points (9-16, 4-8 3PT, 4-4 FT), 5 steals, 3 rebounds
G Jauwan Scaife, Ball State — 22 points (7-12, 6-8 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 steals, 2 rebounds
G Xavier Silas, NIU — 25 points (6-16, 3-6 3PT, 10-10 FT), 3 assists, 3 rebounds
F Ivo Baltic, OHIO — 31 points (12-20, 7-10 FT), 9 rebounds
F A'uston Calhoun, BGSU — 23 points (9-17, 2-3 3PT, 3-3 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 steals

Other Notes:
• Buffalo: In their last five games, Filzen is has made 25 three-point shots in 47 attempts (53%). He's just living the sharpshooter's dream.

Ball State: Coming on strong for the Cardinals has been freshman Chris Bond, who got his third straight start. While officially averaging 6.9 points on the year, Bond has scored 11.3 points per start.

NIU: Yes, Xavier Silas Xavier Silas Xavier Silas, but freshman Antone Christian has provided 12.8 points per game in their last four appearances, and it appears Ricardo Patton is calling his number more and more. Likewise, third-string quarterback-turned-point guard DeMarcus Grady has averaged 18 minutes in their last two games, averaging seven points and has a 4/0 assist/turnover ratio.

OHIO: Baltic's 31 points was obviously a career-high. His previous high was 20, set in his first career game against Ohio Valley University. Against a D1 team, he had 16 points againt Miami.

WMU: The Broncos, for whatever reason, have Bowling Green's number. In their last 13 meetings, Western is 12-1 against the Falcons.

BGSU: Meanwhile, the Falcons' loss to Western is their first home loss since December 8 against Western Kentucky. They're also 0-2 this year against teams with "Western" in their name.

Miami: I can't get enough of Jon Harris' numbers tonight, perhaps the greatest spark plug performance in the MAC this year. Nine minutes, six shots, four 3-pointers, 14 points. That's a 116.6% eFG, and the key reason the RedHawks won on Saturday. You gotta think Coles will give him more minutes in their next game.

EMU: Here's one for you: in three straight home games, the visiting team has failed to score 20 points in the first half. IT MUST BE THE DEFENSE.

Kent State: Clearly the camera loves Kent State. But while they're 15-7 overall, they're just 5-3 on the silver screen. However, they're 2-0 on ESPNU, and that's what channel their BracketBuster game against Drexel is on.

CMU: It might be worthwhile to see if there's any other basketball players hiding inside Andre Coimbra's afro that might be able to hit some jumpers.

Akron: Spooky: the Zips have averaged 69.2 points in their five MAC losses, and 62.5 points in their four wins.

Toledo: When you're bad, the greatest equalizer is the 3-point shot. Anthony Wright, the Rockets' most prolific 3-point shooter, did not take a single trey attempt in the game, his first of the year in which he didn't.

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