The men's bracket is set, and the women already know who will be playing in Cleveland.
I could write an ode to how wonderful March is. How it is the month that yields incredible sports feats, and provides lasting memories to us sports fans. I could write about the time I pretended to be sick to watch my then beloved Cincinnati Bearcats lose at the buzzer to Syracuse in the Big East Tournament (I believe in the first round) when I was in middle school. The joke was on me, as I became violently ill after watching it. The point would be that though the NCAA tournament is king, the conference tournaments are cool also.
But you don't need that. And you damn well don't need me to tell you that the Mid-American Conference Tournament is special.
Cleveland is one of the most unique atmospheres that I have experienced in my years of fandom. Perhaps I have been lucky, as the last two years I have started partaking in the #MACtion on Wednesday. Watching the tournament progress, and the crowds grow, is really something interesting and exciting.
This will be my second year covering the tournament. Last season I was in press row as a writer for the Akron campus newspaper the Buchtelite. This year I am excited to write a story stream for Hustle Belt. This should be a good time.
As is custom, the madness has already started. The teams that played for mere seeding was able to shake things up Saturday.
Buffalo entered the day as a wildcard. Both of the top teams in the league would have likely preferred to see them on the other side of the bracket. They started on #2 Ohio's side, and ended up at #8-- on #1 Akron's side. The strange thing was that most felt that if Buffalo were to switch, it would have been because they would move up to the #5 seed after a win and other losses. It is now going to take a lot for them to get to the semi-finals to face a top seed, but we've learned.
We know better than to assume.
Instead of Buffalo moving up, it was #5 Ball State. BSU squeezed by #10 Northern Illinois Saturday. They will get the bye to Quicken Loans Arena because Toledo is tragically ineligible, and will take on the winner of Buffalo vs. #9 Central Michigan.
First round games will be played on Monday.
The women's side has already played their first round campus games, and have already produced an upset.
#9 Western Michigan upset #8 Eastern Michigan (2012 champion) 80-72. Western will go on to face #5 Bowling Green, who ended Kent State's season today, in Northeast Ohio. That was the only upset recorded; the rest of the favorites thoroughly took care of business.
The other game that will be played Wednesday is #6 Miami against #7 Buffalo.