MAC Basketball Week In Review: Toledo Loses Opener, Ohio-Akron Add Another Classic

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Connar Tava had back-to-back career games to push Western Michigan into the MAC West lead. Buffalo also won their first two games, and Akron-Ohio provided a double-overtime thriller, with the Zips coming out on top. Teams are sorted by conference records.

Akron 10-5 (2-0) RPI: 138 BBState: 69
LAST WEEK
(W) @Ball State, 72-68
(W) @Ohio, 83-80 (2OT)
THIS WEEK
Wednesday vs. Miami
Saturday vs. Toledo

I shudder to think how much last year's tournament team needed Quincy Diggs. Goodness, it's like he didn't miss a beat. Despite the irregular conference schedule, they're right back on regular pace to be a MAC East winner. That Toledo game should be a dandy on Saturday.
Buffalo 8-4 (2-0) RPI: 116 BBState: 64
LAST WEEK
(W) NIU, 67-46
(W) EMU, 76-66
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: at Toledo
Saturday: Kent State
It's not the most glamorous first two wins, but any wins will do. And yes, coach Bobby Hurley got a technical in his first MAC game. Welcome to the conference, buddy.
Western Michigan 9-5 (2-0) RPI: 137 BBState: 114
LAST WEEK
(W) Toledo, 87-76
(W) @Miami 78-77 (OT)
THIS WEEK
Tuesday: at EMU
Sunday: BGSU
You can thank WMU for spoiling the good feelings thought about Toledo and a two-bid conference, or you can really non-sarcastically thank them, depending on your preference. Western seems to revel in ruining others' fun, and they're looking to be another tough contender. Connar Tava may have had his two finest games of the season to start conference play.
Toledo 13-2 (1-1) RPI: 53 BBState: 19
LAST WEEK
(L) @WMU, 87-76
(W) CMU, 86-71
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: vs. Buffalo
Saturday: at Akron
We knew their defense wasn't in tip-top shape, and Western can score in a hurry. So goes our dream of a one-loss Rockets team getting a high seed, and they're certainly not poised to be an at-large team at this rate. But they're still crazy dangerous, especially on offense.
Ohio 11-4 (1-1) RPI: 58 BBState: 58
LAST WEEK
(W) @Kent State, 59-53
(L) Akron, 83-80 (2OT)
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: Ball State
Saturday: at NIU
They're definitely one-half of a terrific basketball saga happening right now, and despite letting a big win against Akron slip away, they should win their next five contests.
Kent State 10-5 (1-1) RPI: 184 BBState: 126
LAST WEEK
(L) Ohio, 59-53
(W) Ball State, 86-74
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: at NIU
Saturday: at Buffalo
Good to see Kent State snap out of a scoring funk with that win over Ball State, but a lot of teams have been saying that lately.
Eastern Michigan 9-6 (1-1) RPI: 47 BBState: 79
LAST WEEK
(W) @BGSU, 56-51
(L) @Buffalo, 76-66
THIS WEEK
Tuesday: vs. WMU
Saturday: at CMU
In an ever-changing world, we can still rely on the fact that EMU has trouble scoring and plays tough defense. Never change, Eastern.
Northern Illinois 7-7 (1-1) RPI: 214 BBState: 210
LAST WEEK
(L) @Buffalo, 67-46
(W) @BGSU, 45-36
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: vs. Kent State
Saturday: vs. Ohio
What a strange week. After falling behind 16-0 to Buffalo, they led that game only trailed by four at halftime. Then still managed to lose it by 20. Then they hop-stepped it to Bowling Green and kept them to under 40 points. Now they get two home games, albeit against tough competition, and I wouldn't be surprised if they took one of them.
Miami 5-8 (1-1) RPI: 140 BBState: 191
LAST WEEK
(W) @CMU, 77-70
(L) WMU, 88-87 (OT)
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: at Akron
Saturday: at Ball State
One bucket away from being tied for first in the MAC. This team. This team. Maybe they can stay competitive, provided their current top scorer doesn't transfer.
Central Michigan 7-7 (0-2) RPI: 259 BBState: 217
LAST WEEK
(L) Miami, 77-70
(L) Toledo, 86-71
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: at BGSU
Saturday: vs. EMU
Club Keno is doubling down on all the wrong numbers. The standard keno card goes up to 80, and what kind of nickname is that for the fans if their team can't hold offenses to below that number?
Bowling Green 6-9 (0-2) RPI: 182 BBState: 243
LAST WEEK
(L) EMU, 59-53
(L) NIU, 45-36
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: CMU
Sunday: at WMU
I refuse to acknowledge what happened yesterday at the Stroh Center. It didn't happen. That team doesn't exist. They scored fewer points against NIU basketball than they did against NIU football. Can Matt Johnson hit a jump shot?
Ball State 3-10 (0-2) RPI: 314 BBState: 312
LAST WEEK
(L) Akron, 72-68
(L) @Kent State, 86-74
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: at Ohio
Saturday: vs. Miami
Someone has to be the worst, and if the #12 team is almost beating Akron, then easy wins are few and far between in this conference. That's what makes it fun.
Massachusetts (Atlantic 10) 14-1 (2-0) RPI: 4 BBState: 8
LAST WEEK
(W) St. Joseph's, 66-62
(W) St. Bonaventure, 73-68
THIS WEEK
Wednesday: at George Mason
Saturday: at Elon
Even UMass is not immune to the first conference game being harder than advertised. And with under 10 minutes to go, Bonaventure had a 13-point lead. Stop scaring us, half-cousins. Also, I had forgotten George Mason is in the A-10. Elon is a nonconference game, and for some reason it is in mid-January.
TOP MAC PERFORMANCES
Chris Fowler (CMU): 22 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds. 2 steals vs. Miami
Glenn Bryant (EMU): 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks vs. Buffalo
Connar Tava (WMU): 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks vs. Miami
Javon McCrea (Buffalo): 14 points, 8 rebounds, 8 blocks, 4 assists vs. NIU
Darren Goodson (Kent State): 23 points, 7 rebounds vs. Ball State
Connar Tava: 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists vs. Toledo
Majok Majok (Ball State): 16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks vs. Akron

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