Three MACsketball games tonight, all rivalries, and with a little help from our Bull Run friends, here's the impact of tonight's three games:
AT STAKE: Akron wins, they win the regular season. Ridiculously simple. Kent State is already going straight to Cleveland but a victory here would not only dash their rivals hopes of landing their first regular-season title but they could conceivably move to the No. 3 seed, avoiding Akron until possibly the MACT finals.
MORE ANALYSIS: Not sure how you don't get geeked for a rivalry game. We know that Akron is in a bit of a funk having lost two straight, and Kent State had the flames lit under their fannies before the OHIO game, and they look as strong as ever. The question is: can Akron's inevitable scoring runs compound Kent State's occasional defensive lapses? It seems to me that we shouldn't factor in Akron's losing streak and claim that, well, they're better than losing three in a row. They're not — everybody they face to end the season is damn good.
PICK: Kent State.
AT STAKE: Tiebreak mayhem currently has the Bobcats at a No. 3 seed but a victory at their brick-laden rival will cement them with a bye to Cleveland. They might even earn the esteemed bye to the semis if Buffalo also falters. Meanwhile, Miami can end the season with a bit of a boost if they win, claiming the No. 9 seed. Otherwise they'll fall to No. 10. They'll face Toledo or WMU either way so it's not all that consequential for them.
MORE ANALYSIS: I hate to see Julian Mavunga's season end like this, but it might only help build his myth if he were able to single-handedly oust the Bobcats in his final home game. We might wonder what his career would be like were Allen Roberts healthy and Orlando Williams more responsible. I think that's something we'd all love to see. But that doesn't line up with reality. The Bobcats are too good to let a little legend begin in the Millett Laser Tag Arena.
AT STAKE: It's still a rivalry game even if not much in the ways of seeding is riding on this. We know that Central Michigan is locked in as the No. 11 seed, but Western Michigan can win and get help from EMU over Toledo to move from the No. 8 to the No. 7 seed. Either way they know they're starting the tournament off in Kalamazoo.
MORE ANALYSIS: We know that WMU has more talent than what their record indicates. The Eastern Michigan Anomaly pretty much bore a hole through all of our logic and preconceived notions. This may be where some of the memory finally kicks in with the seniors on the team (four seniors!!) and realizes, "wait a minute, we're supposed to be good. We don't lose at the 11 seed on the road."