Six games. That's what we're left with. Todd got his wish with the weekday games, to not deny the brilliant minds at Line Drills the opportunity to finish in the money for the 2013-2014 MAC regular season. A 3-3 week brings our tally to 51-49-2 for the year. 56 wins is the mark to win some dough, so we need to go 5-1 in the last six. Two would be great, but we really need just one of these Friday night matchups. Because damn it, we are not afraid to run the table on Saturday. Your March 7th picks:
Western Michigan (-4.5) at Central Michigan
March 4th Western Michigan scored a 61-56 win over Northern Illinois at home. It restored the winning ways for the Broncos after their eight game winning streak fell at the hands of Toledo in overtime on March 1st. Shayne Whittington scored 21, David Brown 18, and Jordan Threloff at 13 points and 13 boards in the win. What continued however, was WMU failing to cover against the spread. The Broncos were losers ATS for the second consecutive game, first getting six at Toledo, and then giving 8.5 to the underdog Huskies. Western Michigan is already assured a double bye in the MAC Tournament entering Friday's matchup with Central Michigan.
The last five overall, WMU is 3-2 against the spread. On the road ATS the Broncos are playing it pretty close to even. 6-6-1 overall, 3-4-1 in conference play, and 2-1-1 in the last five away from Kalamazoo. The last time these two met, on February 1st, WMU was nearly an upset victim, escaping with a 75-72 win and failing to cover the 8.5 point spread.
So take these Chips seriously! Or don't. Central can still fall into a tie for the MAC cellar with Ball State if the Cardinals are able to knock off the Huskies on Saturday. CMU played Toledo to the wire on March 4th, before falling at home to the Rockets 73-69. Four Chips finished in double figures, led by Chris Fowler with 15, and Austin Stewart with 14. The loss was the third straight for CMU, following back to back wins over Ball State and Northern Illinois in late February.
It's been three losses, a win, and a push in the last five for CMU ATS. In the loss to Toledo, the Chips did manage to cover the 7.5 they were getting from the Rockets. Despite being 10-19 overall, CMU actually has a winning record at home, at 8-7 SU, including 3-2 in the last five in Mount Pleasant.
The Pick: Conventional wisdom may suggest that with the double bye locked up and this being the final game before the MAC Tournament the Broncos may not be totally focused on this one. Still, the carrot of the number one seed in the MAC Tournament dangles out there, so I expect to see an impressive effort from WMU Friday night. Take the Broncos, lay the 4.5.
Kent State (+7) at Akron
Well Kent State, congratulations. You didn't finish nearly as bad as I thought you would. When you lost six of seven across January and February, I thought for sure you were fighting to be included in the exclusive company presently including just Ball State and Central Michigan. The Golden Flashes are 4-3 since February 12th, and are a game ahead of last place Bowling Green in the MAC East. Kent State's last outing though, the Golden Flashes missed an opportunity to tie Miami in the division, as they were beaten by the RedHawks at home, 73-61. Devareaux Manley, K.K. Simmons, and Mark Henniger all scored in double figures in the loss.
The loss against the RedHawks was the third time in the last five games the Golden Flashes failed to cover against the spread. Those two games KSU was a winner for bettors, they were the favorite, at Miami and at Ohio. On the road KSU is 5-7 overall and 3-5 in conference play, but ATS the numbers get better. Kent State is 8-4 against the spread and 4-4 in league games. Their first game against Akron they scored a home win, 60-57 over the Zips.
Sneaky Zips. Akron dropped three in a row to Buffalo, Miami, and Ohio and fell to the back of a conversation that included the Bulls, Toledo, and Western Michigan. Since then the Zips have won their last two, most recently 83-71 over Buffalo on March 4th. In what was arguably their most impressive win of the conference season, Quincy Diggs scored 25 and Demetrius Treadwell added 17. Akron still has the opportunity to be the number four seed and earn a bye in the conference tournament.
Akron's been a tough place to play this season for opponents. The Zips are 13-3 overall and 6-2 in league play. ATS though it's a different story. 5-7 at home, 3-5 in conference play, and 2-3 in their last five. In the last ten overall, the Zips have covered ATS in their last two wins wins over Buffalo and Bowling Green, while failing to cover in the previous eight games. In that first game against Kent State, it was the Golden Flashes who came out on top, getting 1.5 from the Zips.
The Pick: We're going with road teams Friday night. Cut this spread in half and I like the Zips. Seven is just enough points to make me a Golden Flashes fan for the evening. Take Kent State and the 7.