What a night. Two come-from-behind finishes in a pair of heated rivalry games. One featured a team getting red-hot and riding it to a 12-point victory, securing the No. 1 seed and a share of the MAC regular season title; the other ground it out, going blow for blow until the final seconds and claiming a win and the No. 4 seed. In the end the Top 4 seeds for the upcoming MAC Tournament were set, and the overall picture was made a lot clearer.
Let's look at how the seeding's currently stand after Friday night's games (* means the team has secured this seed):
1: Western Michigan*
The Broncos not only won the Michigan MAC Trophy Friday night while shooting their rivals, Central Michigan, out of the gym, they also wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament, regardless of what happens Saturday. This is due to holding a tie-breaker over Toledo and finishing with at least one game up on Buffalo. The Broncos have earned a triple-bye and will not play until next Friday night in the MAC Tournament semifinals in Cleveland where they will face the winner of the Akron-quarterfinal game.
The Zips have locked up the No. 2 seed with the Broncos win. The Rockets beat Buffalo head-to-head giving them the tie-breaker over the Bulls, so even if they lose to EMU on Saturday it's locked up a triple-bye and a spot in the semifinals next Friday.
The Bulls lost a lot tonight, without even playing a game. UB had a shot at the No. 3 seed and the highly coveted triple-bye, but that depended on a WMU loss. Now win, lose, draw, Yahtzee, the State University of New York at Buffalo Bulls have locked up the No. 3 seed and a double-bye. The Bulls won't play again until next Thursday in the quarterfinals in Cleveland.
Akron has also won big Friday. The winners of three out of the five last MAC Championships have set themselves up in a great position by securing a double-bye in the upcoming tournament. The Zips finish second in the MAC East, no matter what Ohio does Saturday, because of having a 1-game lead on the 'Cats heading into Friday. The Zips also took home the Wagon Wheel, so not bad for a night of sloppy basketball. With no action until next Thursday Akron will have plenty of time to rest it's injured players and should be viewed as highly dangerous.
It's never fun when you've left you're fate in the hands of others, and Ohio learned that the hard way Friday night. With Akron's win Ohio can do no better than the No. 5 seed. It's not all bad. No matter what the Bobcats will be hosting a game in Athens on Monday, and having arguably the best home-court advantage in the conference is a huge boon for the 'Cats. Ohio gets the No. 5 with a win over Miami on Saturday due to holding a head-to-head tiebreaker over EMU. A loss and an EMU loss also gives the 'Cats the No. 5 seed. But a loss and an EMU win over Toledo gives the Eagles the No. 5 seed due to winding up with a better conference record in this scenario.
6: Eastern Michigan
See above. The Eagles fate rests partially in their hands, but mainly in Ohio's, as the only way EMU can move up from No. 6 is with an Ohio loss and an Eagles' win. As we saw Friday night (a pair of come-from-behind wins) anything is possible though, so there's still hope for fans of the Green & White.
The RedHawks road to the No. 7 seed is simple.. Win and it's theirs. The RedHawks currently have a one-game lead on NIU and therefore would get the No. 7 seed with a win, regardless of what the Huskies do. But, if Miami loses to rival Ohio, at home, and NIU beats Ball State (a highly-likely scenario) the 'Hawks would win up with the No. 8 seed. This is because if the two teams wind up with an identical 8-10 conference mark, NIU holds the tie-breaker having beat the 'Hawks in their only matchup, 53-41 on Feb. 4.
8: Northern Illinois
As with EMU the Eagles hope NIU's hopes rest partially on another's actions. It's exactly as listed above. Northern Illinois needs to beat Ball State AND have Miami lose, in which case the 'Hawks would get the No. 8 seed and NIU would get the No. 7 due to having beat Miami in their only matchup this year.
9: Kent State
The Golden Flashes screwed themselves big time Friday. No team had a bigger possible drop than KSU, and now it's on the verge of becoming true. If the Flashes would have beat Akron they could have wound up with the No. 7 seed, if a number of other things went right. But with the loss, the highest KSU can get is the No. 9 seed. In fact, the Flashes' fate is entirely in the hands of Bowling Green & Buffalo Saturday.
10: Bowling Green
As stated above he Falcons can grasp the No. 9 seed with a win over Buffalo. This would send KSU down to the No. 10 seed. This is due to the fact that the teams split their head-to-head matchups (the first tie-breaker) and having identical records vs. East division foes in this scenario (4-6 apiece). This would cause the tie-breaker to become the combined winning percentage of the teams they beat in conference play regardless of division. BG would have wins over WMU, Buffalo (2), Ohio which is far better than Kent's top wins over Akron, Ohio, Miami & NIU. The BG-Buffalo match up is actually a good one, so there's plenty of reasons to be hopeful if you're a fan of the Brown & Orange.
11: Central Michigan
CMU also royally screwed themselves Friday, albeit there's not a ton of difference between the No. 11 & No. 12 seeds. But damn it, pride is on the line here. If Ball State wins, CMU finishes 12th. Why? well the two would have split their head-to-head series, have identical records vs. West division foes, pinning it all on that confusing third tie breaker. In that case BSU's win will have came against Buffalo, NIU & CMU, which has a higher combined winning percentage than CMU's wins over NIU, Kent State and the Cardinals.
12: Ball State
As said above Ball State's fate is all in its own hands. The Cardinals beat NIU and they claim the No. 11 seed. If they lose, they finish dead last in the MAC and get the No. 12 seed.
All the action tips off Saturday at noon with Ohio at Miami on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and the WatchESPN app. EMU at Toledo, also on TWC & WatchESPN tips at 2 p.m. Bowling Green at Buffalo tips at 2:30 p.m. and can be streamed free on the MAC-Sports.com Digital Network. Ball State at NIU rounds out the day and tips off at 4:30 p.m., also on the MACDN.