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MAC Basketball: Eastern Michigan Wins A MAC West Share (No, Really)

So what's the more surprising outcome: that MAC West preseason contender Ball State is 4-10 in the conference, 10th overall, or that EMU pulled to 8-6, good enough for at least a share of the MAC West? Or that Eastern Michigan scored over 60 points? Take your pick.

Darrell Lampley shot 8-for-8 from said freebie line to total 13 points along with handing out eight assists. Jarrod Jones led BSU with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

An estimated 55 possessions per team means that EMU was actually rather strong on offense, rebounding and getting to the free-throw line (20-for-23 overall) and sending the four seniors (all who started) out of the Convocation Center winners.

Although … maybe they'll come back. Even though the MAC West is theirs alone with one more victory, they're no longer guaranteed a No. 2 seed for it. They're on pace for perhaps the No. 5, which means an easy home matchup, but no matter the seeding, this win probably wrapped up Rob Murphy winning MAC Coach of the Year.

Mitchell Watt had quite a game: 28 points (11-of-16 shooting), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks in Buffalo's 84-74 win over Miami. The UB win stopped a nasty three-game slide and put pressure on OHIO Sunday to win and keep pace for the No. 2 seed. Julian Mavunga did all he could to keep MU in the game, with 20 points and five rebounds, but they are now in danger of hittin' the road in the first round as they're currently sitting in a No. 9 seed position at 5-9.

It's not entirely true that all 132 points in this game came via 66 dunks, although if you saw the highlights you may disagree. And you know it's not possible because Scott Thomas hit 6-of-10 3-pointers to lead the game with 21 points, and that's also an odd number. But Torian Oglesby's 15 points were augmented with energy and power, and that second half just tore right through an experienced KSU team, whose 4-game win streak against BGSU has been snapped. Carlton Guyton's balanced game led the Flashes with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Never convince yourself standings will shake down as planned. With the loss, Kent State is still sitting well at 9-5, one game ahead of BGSU and EMU for the final first-round bye. And their schedule down the stretch isn't enjoyable but few are: home against OHIO, home against Akron.

And of course, I picked the least consequential game to attend. It started out a little wacky as Matt Stainbrook scored the first 12 points for WMU, then cooled off, played few more minutes and finished with 14 on the game. The Rockets played like their football cohorts, on a night when UT legends Bruce Gradkowski and Nick Kaczur were honored, with all offense and little defense. They had six players score at least nine points, paced by Dominique Buckley with 16. As a team they only had five turnovers.

WMU was also balanced in terms of scoring and I felt at times they played tougher inside, notably Flenard Whitfield, but UT's shooting was too hot to relent the lead. The win helped EMU win a share of the MAC West, and it's looking like the Rockets might be able to finish the season with one more win (NIU), perhaps two if they can take down EMU in a sneakily important game on Sunday.

Today's games:

2:05 p.m. — Northern Illinois (3-23, 2-11) at Central Michigan (8-19, 3-10) (SportsTime Ohio, ESPN3) (MAC Sports Video Feed)
8:00 p.m. — Akron (20-8, 12-1) at OHIO (22-6, 9-4) (ESPNU)