Toledo vs. Central Michigan Preview: A Look At A MAC Grudge Match

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The die was cast for a rematch last March 15 when the UT Rockets were upended in the MAC Tournament Semifinals by eventual champion Central Michigan.

Hearns-Hagler. Leonard-Duran. Toledo Rockets-Central Michigan Chippewas. Emanuel Steward is smiling somewhere over the prospect of this slugfest.

McGuirk Arena in Mt. Pleasant will be the site of a highly contested rematch on Saturday. Perhaps, McGuirk Arena should be temporarily renamed Kronk North for the occasion.

Toledo has won the last four consecutive MAC West Division titles. That meant nothing in the semifinal game of the MAC Conference Tournament last March. The Rockets were upended by the Chippewas and eliminated from the MAC Conference Tournament. This put an end to Toledo's hopes of an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and being seeded in accordance with a very impressive record which would have included only two previous losses. The rematch date with Central Michigan was circled in the Rockets' calendar the minute the MAC Conference schedule was released.

The Rockets are led by senior Brianna Jones and junior Inma Zanoguera. They finished the non conference schedule with a 5-6 record, but are 3-2 on the road.

Central Michigan is led by All American candidate Crystal Bradford, who is averaging 20.3 points per game. The Chippewas have faced a Draconian non conference schedule. They have taken their act on the road against the toughest teams in the country. CMU has a 4-8 record and is no doubt looking forward to home cooking on Saturday.

Tipoff is slated for 12:00 pm. The contest may be viewed on ESPN 3, Comcast Michigan and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.

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