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MAC Basketball Is Marble Madness Level 5

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EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG. And here's the theorem:

Kent State lost to Buffalo. Akron got thumped by Miami. OHIO fell to Bowling Green. TOLEDO BEAT WESTERN FRIGGING MICHIGAN. Yes, these were all games in which the home team won, as Ball State topped EMU to be the only road victors. But I'd have gone the other way on at least three, maybe four, of those games. Lesser teams are winning, and the middle class is expanding into what can only be labeled a MAClusterf*ck.

Scores and analysis after the jump.

Miami 84, Akron 76 — Here we have MU's highest-scoring game against the Zips, who allowed the most points in regulation they have all season. A story about Julian Mavunga needing rest was followed by him playing "only" 32 minutes, finishing with 25 points, 12 of them free throws. Antonio Ballard and Nick Winbush each finished with double-doubles (19/19 and 11/12 respectively). Akron didn't have a poor game offensively as the scoring was distributed among seven players who netted at least eight points (led by Nikola Cvetinovic with 15) but the RedHawks' free throw shooting (23-for-28) may as well be the deciding factor.

Miami is now 3-1 in the MAC, and a very surprisingly struggling Zips team is now 1-3. Guh?

Toledo 73, Western Michigan 60 — Look, I was there. But that doesn't mean I can explain how or why. I can throw out some conjecture on the "how." It began with Flenard Whitfield sitting much of the first half with two fouls. Matt Stainbrook had a puzzlingly bad game — 0 points, five rebounds — and he was outmatched by Hayden Humes, who had a career-best 19 points and eight boards. Malcolm Griffin followed up his 31-point night against NIU with a cool 22 and six assists, and the only other WMU player who was able to shoot with regularity other than second-half Whitfield was Demetrius Ward, who led the Broncos with 20.

Long story short, a lot of Rockets had career nights, and a couple of key breaks clamped any type of momentum WMU was trying to build at any point in the game. The lead remained between eight and 12 for virtually the entire 40 minutes. No wonder Broncos coach Steve Hawkins was T'ed up in the final minute He'd had it.

WMU now licks their wounds at 2-2, while Toledo is finally on the board at 1-3.

Bowling Green 73, OHIO 61 — If beating an irritating in-state foe by a dozen wasn't prize enough, how about a $10 million endowment for the program? You pretty much have to win that game even before the check clears. The heirs to the throne played like a team: 20 of 27 field goals had a recorded assist.

Scott Thomas returned to actually scoring more than a handful of points, leading the way with 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals. (What, no blocks?) A'uston Calhoun and Torian Oglesby both got rare starts, who earned 'em especially tonight as Big Apostrophe finished with 15 points and Oglesby had himself a double-double: 13 points and 10 rebounds, along with three blocks and two steals.

D.J. Cooper topped all Bobcats with 18 points but couldn't sustain a single-handed comeback. Nick Kellogg was decent enough with 13 points, but a team 17 turnovers dug them into a team hole.

Tough-luck OHIO is now 1-3 in the MAC East. Bowling Green remains in the top half at 3-1. Separation is nowhere to be found.

Buffalo 79, Kent State 54 — The summation of this game could simply be Mitchell Watt's coast-to-coast tyranny:

Goodness. Using the whole fist, Watt?

You saw two points and one block. Overall he had 13 points and eight blocks. Somehow that has to trump Byron Mulkey's tantalizing 27 points and five assists, but I don't know how.

Kent State had nothing happening inside, but Randal Holt was able to salvage a performance by scoring 16 points and Justin Greene ground his way to 15.

Both teams are now 2-2, but in no way are they equal. And yet they are.

Ball State 60, Eastern Michigan 51 — But you saw this coming. Rest easy, the marble is still a marble. And the narrative remains the same: BSU's starting five were phenomenal — Jarrod Jones had 15 and 8, Randy Davis scored and shared the ball, Malik Perry had 10 rebounds, etc. — and Brandon Bowdry returned from his suspension with a 26-point night as the rest of his team was an ice-cold 9-for-36 from the field.

Remaining perfect in the conference, Ball State is now 4-0 and EMU slips to 1-3.