The teams are dropping fast! Fortunately the tournament was planned well enough that, with four teams left, that is an even number, affording for two games on Friday and one on Saturday. Neat how that works.
Note to self: take more personal time around the MAC tournament.
Some final thoughts after the quarterfinals:
10 in the first. 53 in the second. It would've been a goofier storyline had Miami actually pulled off the victory, but instead it simply turned into a double-overtime game, and were it not for the stupid power conferences and their Kemba Walkers, the game of the day in college basketball. Pulling off more layers of this onion, this really typefies how Akron's been playing all year. Sometimes great on defense, sometimes headless-chicken, and occasionally you see both in the same game.
Mechanical legs can only do so much. You saw it in Julian Mavunga's composure down the stretch. His shots were clanking badly, as were his free throws (0-for-4 in the second OT frame). 50 minutes of basketball is going to do that to anybody. Despite Nikola Cvetinovic and Zeke Marshall fouled out of the game — Akron's best two big men — Miami played tired, mostly because they could only rotate seven, and two had five fouls. Moral of the story: you need a bench.
Bowling Green will be back. They graduate Mike Dabney, the role-playing (not LARPing) power forward and Joe Jakubowski, the obviously nerdy point guard (since he went to my high school as well — double alma mater brothers!). That's not much of what comprised the core of this team. Watch out for them in 2011-12.
As will Buffalo. Byron Mulkey, it was nice knowing you, and you were a fun story to follow this year. But except for him and Jawaan Alston, this team will also be mostly intact. BG's East coast alter ego this year, they too are going to be fun to watch with Javon McCrea in the middle.
Ball State learned to beat the MAC East at the right time. Throughout the entire game, I kept thinking to myself, "okay, NOW the Bobcats are going to pull away." At at one point, I thought it had happened. OHIO was trying to protect a nine-point lead inside of three minutes, but that's exactly how many points BSU scored unanswered to close out the half. Whatever disrespect I meant to Chris Bond for not deserving of the All-Freshman Team was wiped clean when he netted six of those nine points, both on 3-point plays.
Oh, yeah, and then there's that 1-seed. We leave Kent State for the end, because when you win by 11, that's boring. C'mon, where's the drama? That's what we signed up for. Somehow Michael Porrini continues to improve in clutch situations, because dig this line: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals. That's a quadruple sextet. I'll believe this team has what it takes to win the tournament when they pull off a triple-overtime win somewhere.
What divisional power struggle? Two from the MAC East, two from the MAC West. Wouldn't it be wild if Ball State played WMU for the right to go to the NCAAs?
This was longer than I thought it'd be. Meh. I'll sleep next weekend.