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Week 2 MAC Men’s Basketball Preview (part 1)

Some big names are on the slate

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Championship-Villanova Parade Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Each week I am going to write a preview of the basketball games I plan on watching. These are the most intriguing to me.

Syracuse v Western Michigan Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

WMU Broncos vs. 3 Villanova Wildcats

Western Michigan will try to recover after a tough loss to Oakland. Playing the 2-0 defending national champions that just knocked off a ranked team probably isn’t the best place to go about that. Then again, it could be the perfect place. Maybe the Broncos catch a flat ‘Nova squad, and set the tone for the rest of their season. That’s what I love about basketball. It’s a streaky game, and anything can happen.

Villanova had some problems on the interior against Purdue, and Seth Dugan was able to grab 15 rebounds against the Grizzlies. Freshman Brandon Johnson has been playing well for the Broncos, and he might be young enough to not realize what he is up against.

The ‘Cats are lead by preseason All American candidate Josh Hart, who is averaging 18.5 per contest. As expected, they are a loaded squad with 4 players averaging double digits.

You can watch the game on ESPN 2 at 11:30am, on Thursday, the 17th.

Ohio Bobcats @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Antonio Campbell and the Bobcats travel to Atlanta to take on a 2-0 Georgia Tech squad. Campbell is averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds a game. The Bobcats are far from a one man show. Jordan Dartis and Kenny Kaminski are averaging 16 and 15.5 points per game, respectively. Jaaron Simmons is throwing in an impressive 7 assists per game, too.

Georgia Tech’s Tadric Jackson scored 20 points in his first game of the season against Southern. His teammate Ben Lammers almost had a triple double in that game, with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 9 blocks. He is shooting an incredible 72% from the floor this season, up from 65% last year.

Ohio is number 1 in our power rankings, and a win here would go a long way for MAC pride.

The game is at 8:00pm Friday, the 18th.

Ball State Cardinals @ Alabama Crimson Tide

This is a winnable game against a P5 opponent, and I am very anti-P5 right now. I don’t expect that this would do much for the MAC’s national reputation, as the Tide already dropped a game to Dayton.

For Ball State, this would be a huge confidence booster after dropping an overtime game to rival Indiana State. Franko House has been playing fantastic this season, averaging a double/double. It’s his play away from the ball that really sets him apart, though. Tahjai Teague is starting off his freshman season averaging over 7 points and 7 rebounds per game, and I expect him to keep getting better.

Bama has 4 players that average over double digits, led by Corbin Collins and his 15 points per game. They don’t get much out of their big men, and it’s a match-up that I think House and Teague and company can exploit.

Tipoff is at 9:00pm Friday, the 18th.

Toledo Rockets @ Wright State Raiders

Toledo takes on a Horizon league team, the Wright State Raiders. The Horizon league could potentially get a second or third team into the NCAA. If that happens, it’s most likely that they will be taking a MAC spot.

Wright State is 2-0 on the year, and has 2 players averaging over 20 points per game. Mark Alstork is up at 29.5 per contest.

After dropping their first game in a close one against St. Joe’s, the Rockets scored over 100 last time out, but the problem is they gave up almost 100. The Raiders aren’t particularly deep, so an up and down game might just be what the doctor ordered.

Tipoff is at 7:00pm Saturday, the 19th.

I’ll put a post up Saturday on which games I’ll watch Sunday and beyond. The WMU/Nova game is on, and I am pumped! RTB!