There was a time sports fans, when Line Drills would put up a 3-3 mark for the midweek games and be thrilled. That time is called "two weeks ago." That time though, is over! Were it not for my esteemed colleague picking against my Ball State Cardinals we could be here celebrating a 4-2 record through Thursday night! I can't hate on him though, for two very important reasons. One, he took Buffalo and laid the points against BSU because the boys over at Bull Run make a stiff drink and it's good. Two, because I refuse to pick the Ball State games because I believe that I can jinx the squad simply by predicting a run of the mill conference victory. Isn't that insane? Probably. Crazier still? Not dipping into junior's college fun to bet on some MAC hoops. Your January 25th MAC picks:
Ohio (+2.5) at Eastern Michigan
Bobcats get your act together. Ohio dropped the ball big time in getting knocked off by Bowling Green on Wednesday. Akron's not going to lose much in the MAC East so if OU hopes to challenge for a division crown, losses like that can't happen again. That Bowling Green game aside, I'll tell you what I like about the Bobcats. For the most part they blow out inferior competition. They ran it up on Ball State and Northern Illinois, as they should. The Akron game was winnable. The Zips needed double OT to dispatch Ohio. Let's be clear, Eastern is not inferior competition. You know what Eastern definitely is though? They are definitely the second best team in the MAC West. They aren't in Toledo's class, and they're significantly better than Western Michigan. Ohio can catch Akron. They're thirstier. Eastern can't catch Toledo. Is that a bad reason to pick a game? Hang on, I can't hear you, let me take off my lucky headphones I wear that help me predict college basketball games. Take Ohio and the 2.5.
Buffalo (-5.5) at Northern Illinois
Buffalo, who you may remember from Thursday night's ass whoopin' at the hands of Ball State, enters Saturday's matchup against Northern Illinois 9-6 overall and 3-2 in the conference. That Ball State loss was a bitter pill, if the Bulls had been able to win at The Nest, they would have the inside track as Akron's best competition in the MAC East. Perhaps the most impressive game Buffalo has played this conference season was a 67-65 loss at Toledo on January 15th. The first time on the dance floor with Northern Illinois, the Bulls cruised, notching 67-46 victory in their conference opener. In that game, Buffalo exploded out to a 16-0 lead, and forced the Huskies into 19 turnovers. NIU shot a frigid 27.3 percent from the field, and it hasn't gotten too much better for the Huskies since. NIU sports the worst offense in the MAC at just over 62 points a game. Their lone conference win thus far was in the most unwatchable game to this point of the conference season, a 45-36 "victory" against Bowling Green. Buffalo will be out for blood after the BSU loss, and won't have to set any scoring records to cover the 5.5 against the Huskies. Take the Bulls, lay the points.
Miami at Bowling Green (-3)
Man, I don't know what to make of the RedHawks. They are a one point loss to Western Michigan away from being 4-1 in the MAC East and second to Akron in the division. They've played well on the road against tough opponents, hanging with the Zips before falling 59-52 on January 15th, and giving UMass their best punch in a 73-65 defeat on January 4th. All of this despite having the 9th ranked offense and defense in the conference. So what are the RedHawks good at? Free throws. Miami shoots 73 percent from the line, best in the MAC. They sank 5 of 6 from the charity stripe in securing an 86-80 victory over Central Michigan on Wednesday night. So the Falcons aren't going to win a free throw contest with Miami. My guess is it doesn't stay that close. Bowling Green is on fire. The Falcons are riding a three game winning streak. After providing you, the fan, with an unwatchable performance against NIU on January 12th, BGSU knocked off Central Michigan, Western Michigan, and Ohio, the last two on the road. I figure it will be a happy homecoming for the Falcons, a team that to this point is exceeding expectations. Take the Falcons, lay the three.
Akron (-5.5) at Central Michigan
Akron's going to win the West. Central may not win a conference game. Obviously we're hoping the Chips don't tally a victory in conference, because nobody wants to see Ball State as the doormat. That said, Akron needs to run up some points on someone. They're playing some of these teams entirely too close. Wins over Ball State by 4 and Miami by 7 don't impress me. They weren't going to beat Toledo in their toughest matchup so far this conference season anyway. What? I said they'd beat the Rockets? You're crazy, get lost. If Central is able to cover against the Zips, they can call it a minor victory. They truth of the matter is though, the Chips are bad and getting worse. Losers of five straight they can look past Akron, and Ohio, and Western Michigan, onto Kent State, where I think they have their best shot of getting a MAC win. On Saturday though, expect the Zips to cruise. Take Akron, lay the 5.5.