Previews and notes of the six women's MACsketball games, who haven't played in over a week, so we're ready for them to resume.
12 noon — Bowling Green (20-3, 10-0 MAC) at Toledo (15-7, 8-2 MAC) (TV: SportsTime Ohio/ESPN3)
Not to overhype this game, but if you do not watch women's basketball, watching this game may turn you into a fan. It's basically everything you need: two teams that play smart (it not high-scoring) offense and even better defense. Two coaches in the prime of their careers (Tricia Cullop and Curt Miller). An undefeated MAC team going over one county to play their rivals against arguably the second-best team. Toledo has won seven in a row; BGSU 13. Massive implications however you dissect this game. It's a most excellent way to begin a Saturday.
One of the great perplexing stats of the game is that both teams are actually pretty miserable free throw shooters. BGSU is 10th and Toledo is 11th in the MAC in freebies, shooting 66.4% and 62.3% respectively. And this could come down to whichever team minimizes their greatest weaknesses. For the Falcons, they don't shoot terribly well but they are tops in the MAC in turnovers per game (14.0). And on these two metrics, Toledo is almost the opposite. They're hitting 51.9% of their 2-point shots, best in the conference, but have been a little sloppy, turning it over 20 times per game. Given their slow pace, that's a 28% TO rate, worst in the league. And yet they're 8-2 in the conference.
As excited as I am for the men's version of the game (which I'll be going to), I'm getting double the goosebumps thinking about this one. In a way the women's variety of this rivalry is a bit more intense at least recently, given both teams' successes.
And it's one that only hopes to improve next year. This game will feature a total of three seniors: Jessica Slagle on BG, and Courtney Ingersoll/Haylie Linn for the Rockets. Look, just watch it, then come back and let us know how much of an improved women's hoops fan you are. Deal?
1:00 p.m. — Northern Illinois (10-12, 4-6 MAC) at Miami (17-6, 7-3 MAC) (MAC Sports Video Feed)
NIU isn't really the strongest team in the bunch, but they have built up their record by winning three of their last four and making the score look close against BG. As for Miami they're suddenly a trio of games behind the Falcons, may not be able to catch them, but can certainly vie for that second seed.
2:00 p.m. — Ball State (8-15, 3-7 MAC) at OHIO (10-14, 3-7 MAC) (MAC Sports Video Feed)
All that's really on the line in this game is a better chance to escape having to play a first round game on the road. But both teams are languishing in the bottom tercile of the league. Both teams struggle to score points, so it might not be a pretty affair.
2:00 p.m. — Kent State (5-15, 4-6 MAC) at Eastern Michigan (16-7, 8-2 MAC) (MAC Sports Video Feed)
After a fun three-game win streak, the Golden Flashes went back to their losing methods by dropping three in a row. I'll admit I've been half-fascinated with this KSU team, one of Bob Lindsey's biggest coaching challenges of his illustrious career. It wouldn't surprise me if they kept it close against EMU, although the Eagles ought to have the defensive prowess to shut Kent down, then ride Tavelyn James' scoring contraption to their fifth straight win.
3:00 p.m. — Central Michigan (12-12, 4-6 MAC) at Buffalo (7-17, 2-8 MAC) (MAC Sports Video Feed)
So CMU is finally back and intact the way they should be. The Bulls have not been much of a threat against anybody. At this point the Chips are not really playing for a division title like it seemed earlier, but rather for seeding.
5:00 p.m. — Western Michigan (6-17, 3-7 MAC) at Akron (10-14, 4-6 MAC) (MAC Sports Video Feed)
Similar to the Ball State-OHIO tilt in team prestige, except both teams are a little bit better at scoring. Actually Akron have two of the fastest paces in the MAC, so both point totals could reach well into the 70s. At least that'll be entertaining!