The second round of the women's tournament takes place Wednesday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena as a matinee to the men's second round. But we have some intriguing ones, especially the opener:
12 noon — #8 OHIO (14-17, 6-10) vs. #5 Central Michigan (16-14, 8-8)
Hey, does anyone remember their regular season game?
I'm not going to encourage more fighting, but "spirited rematch" is certainly a better phrase, even if "shoving rematch" won't occur. But CMU should know all too well that their scuffle with the Bobcats back on that fateful night caused their team to suffer suspensions of three starters in a crucial two-game swing against BGSU and Miami. Oddly enough they did beat Miami and pushed the Falcons to the brink, but a midseason funk took them out of the running for the MAC West and slunk them into the First Two Rounds of this new fangled tournament.
And let's not forget the most important outcome of the fight game: CMU won by 14 points. It's now in a neutral court so the Bobcats might have a handful more fans on their side, but the Chippewas are still the ones on a winning streak and the ones who score better.
Did you know three CMU players also were named to the MAC All-Freshman Team? Good heavens, watch this team the next three years.
Pick: Central Michigan; winner will play #4 Miami on Thursday.
30 minutes after: #7 Northern Illinois (13-16, 6-10) vs. #6 Akron (14-17, 7-9)
It's a closer game on paper, or Internet column space, or whatever you determine defines the space these words occupy. If you look at their regular-season matchup, you'll say, hey, NIU beat them in Akron by six points. And then if you're a crafty observer, you'll look for Sina King's stat line and not find it. That was one of two games UA's leading scorer missed due to injury.
Quick footprints for both teams: NIU's defense is substantially better than their scoring and likes to keep the score in the 50s. It's the converse for Akron, who prefers scoring into the 70s but also lets their opponent get there too. NIU's best chance to score is by getting to the line, which they did 30 times against Akron and made 26 of the freebies. If they can't do that nor slow down King, the answer is obvious.
Pick: Akron; winner will play #3 Toledo on Thursday.