Eight teams remain in the women's tournament, and we're starting to enter a world where most of these games should be relatively competitive. The women will tip off in Quicken Loans Arena as the undercard to the men's games this evening, but don't sleep on the women's games, either. Bowling Green and Miami were considered tournament favorites in November and both have a very real chance at not making it to the quarterfinals.
|12 noon (TV: MACDN)||(9) Western Michigan (11-19, 6-10)||vs.||(5) Bowling Green (21-9, 11-5)|
The easy part is done for WMU. They won a game in the MAC tournament, something they hadn't done since 2008. For rookie head coach Shane Clipfell, 11 wins in a season is also, perhaps wistfully, the best the Broncos have done in the last five years.
And while BGSU has been relatively untouchable in recent years, they are just 3-3 in the last six contests, and Western beat them this year in Kalamazoo 55-54. In that win, WMU shot a ridiculous 50 percent from the floor, and the Falcons don't let many teams do that to them.
Dumb Prediction: With the loss to Western being the nadir of their season, BGSU clamps down and gets to the quarterfinals with a 51-40 win.
|2:30 p.m. (TV: MACDN)||(7) Buffalo (11-19, 8-8)||vs.||(6) Miami (19-11, 10-6)|
I don't know the frequency of teams splitting a season series with both victories coming on the road. That is exactly what the Bulls and RedHawks did. Buffalo won in Millett Hall by eight and then Miami turned around with a win at Alumni Arena by 13. Just in case you were thoroughly confused on who has the better matchup here.
Buffalo, similar to WMU, is enjoying a better year under their first-year head coach (Felisha Legette-Jack) than last year, and their youth has carried them this year. Miami was the MAC East favorite but their only wins against teams still in the tournament are Buffalo and Bowling Green. So they still have a bit more to prove, but flanked by two terrific seniors, the experience is on their side.
Dumb Prediction: You know what? I'll take Buffalo in a slight upset, 61-57. Mackenzie Loesing and Christa Baccas will come up huge. Miami could still qualify for the WBI or WNIT.