MAC Basketball Preview: Single People Will Watch Kent State-Buffalo

What to watch if your lonely, need companionship or have a really, REALLY cool significant other:

7 p.m. — Buffalo (16-6, 9-2 MAC) at Kent State 18-6, 8-3 MAC) (SportsTime Ohio/ESPN3) (MAC-Sports Video Feed)

Tonight in the entire country there are five games that feature top-100 RPI matches. Two are in the SEC (Mississippi State-LSU, Florida-Alabama). One is in the Big Ten (Ohio State-Minnesota). One is a CAA tilt (VCU-George Mason). The fifth is this one between the Bulls and Golden Flashes.

So this is big. Buffalo is the outright No. 2 team in the MAC while KSU is the No. 3 team. A win for Kent State is vital for seeding purposes because UB already beat Kent State once this year in a 66-65 thriller. So getting the season split will help them leverage a potential tiebreaker. And it's going to be a classic offense-vs-defense matchup. Here we have KSU and their 74.8 points per game, topping the conference with 1.092 points per possession. Their defense has been hit-or-miss. They've been able to shut down the lower-end teams, but against guys like Akron, UB, OHIO — basically the rest of the East — and even Eastern Michigan they've had trouble defensively and as a result they were a middle-of-the-division team, but maybe the clean sweep of the West cured them of this.

Meanwhile, Buffalo has gone the entire conference without a team going better than 1 PPP. The best anyone did was Kent State (0.990). So it's no secret why the Bulls have the top winning streak in the MAC right now (eight games). Of course, Kent State's is at six, so something shall crumble. I have a feeling that Kent will right the ship and pull even with the Bulls, but should it go the other way then Buffalo needs to finally be considered a double-bye favorite.

7 p.m. — Eastern Michigan (11-14, 6-5 MAC) at Central Michigan (7-17, 2-9 MAC) (MAC-Sports Video Feed)

Not as sexy as any game in the East (it never will be, at this rate), but there is a nugget of intrigue here. Yes, EMU has a two-game lead on the division and CMU is in last-place. And yes, this game is played in McGuirk so there's always the uncertainty of winning on the road. And to throw in yet another wrench, CMU beat EMU earlier this year in Ypsilanti, although that was a month ago and much has since changed. Right after that 60-56 victory against Eastern, the Chippewas have dropped nine straight contests, five by at least double digits.

With a combination of CMU's erratic scoring behavior and EMU's deliberate pace, another game into the low 50s is to be expected. Quite possibly Central might be able to pull this off, stopping the bleeding in that program, and may not hurt Eastern too badly. But when even NIU is playing better than you, it's hard to predict a win.

Women's basketball, 7 p.m. — OHIO (11-14, 5-6 MAC) at Akron (11-14, 5-6 MAC) (MAC-Sports Video Feed)

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