Akron 63, Central Michigan 43 (box) — You knew they weren't the worst team in the East, even though their record dictated such. The Akron Zips were the horse the fell right out of the post, but suddenly their gait has brought them back into the thick of the hunt. Not only did they rise to 3-4, two games out of first place (and still tied for last), but they did so in a fashion that's expected of the Zips; they demoralized a lesser opponent, holding 'em to merely 43 points. It's the exact blessing they needed, since their Achilles' heel the past couple weeks has been defense and allowing 70 or more points. They overcompensated.
On the offensive side, it's paramount that Zeke Marshall stays out of foul trouble, because when a team has the league's only 7-footer, he does no good for your team when relegated to a chair.
As for Central Michigan ... okay, the media picked them second in the MAC West and even a favorite to win it all. They are 5-15 overall and 2-5 in the conference. Already anointed as a top player in the league was Trey Zeigler before the first tipoff, and that's just not fair to put all that on a freshman. He's the top scorer, yes, but freshmen can and will have off-nights, and the offense really should be run through Jalin Thomas, the senior, whose efficiency is much more stout than the promising coach's son. Zeigler can't be taking 19 while Thomas (if fully healthy) only attempts nine, and they both finish with 10 points.
Kent State 72, Toledo 55 (box) — Yep, just your standard beatdown of a Northeast Ohio team beating down a visiting cellar-dwelling MAC West team trying to rely on a freshman. Wait ... didn't we just discuss this game? It feels very familiar.
There's not much we didn't already know about KSU before this game. Justin Greene remains their lynchpin and with many other proven options on the perimeter, there was no way they could shut everybody down, especially with Toledo's inexperienced bigs.
As for the Rockets, Malcolm Griffin never got going, taking only five shots for eight points (hell of a nice small-sample efficiency, though) and fouling out with 7:33 to play in the second half, ergo Reese Holliday saw most of the looks, shooting the ball 15 times. I don't know if they're going to pick a win up on the road anytime soon.
Kent State is now tied with the surprising tandem of Buffalo and Bowling Green at 5-2 and the Rockets remain alone in the valley of the MAC West at 1-6.
No Monday games. Ball State will travel to Miami on Tuesday.