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This Weekend is Must Watch For MAC Men’s Basketball

The two bid league talk could start early.

West Virginia v Villanova Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Mid-American Conference won every game the first two days of the 2018-19 men’s basketball season, moving to 9-0 as a conference. They have this Thursday off before heading into a weekend that has several huge match-ups. There are several teams that could make a big move this season, and two of them play ranked opponents in winnable games. There are also a few other intriguing match-ups, plus three teams still have to make their season debut.

Buffalo Bulls @ #13 West Virginia Mountaineers

No team out of the MAC has the committee’s eyes more than the Buffalo Bulls. After winning their first round match-up in last year’s NCAA tournament, the Bulls have several votes in the AP poll, too. A win here would put the Bulls in the top 25, something that would be remembered come tournament time, even if they slip up once or twice this non-conference.

This game is at 9PM Friday on ESPNU, which means a national audience. Even just a close game could work in Buffalo’s favor by the end of the season.

Ball State Cardinals @ Purdue Boilermakers

The Cardinals played a solid Indiana State team in their opener. K.J. Walton had a slow start in his Cardinals debut. Trey Moses was on limited minutes coming off knee surgery. Kyle Mallers was o-fer from the floor and only managed 4 points. While not particularly great news for those kids that night, it is actually great news for Ball State fans. Pulling out a win with the limited production of those three stars means the Cardinals are loaded. Also impressive was the 21 point and 7 rebound performance from Tahjai Teague.

They take on the 24th ranked Purdue Boilermakers at 8PM on Saturday in a interstate rivalry game. The Boilermakers have Carsen Edwards, who put up 30 in their season opener. The 6’1 guard hit 7 of 11 attempts from downtown. While Edwards is a great player, this is a winnable game for the Cardinals, especially if Tayler Persons and company can keep Edwards somewhat in check.

Toledo Rockets @ Oakland Golden Grizzlies

The Rockets are the only team in the MAC West that have yet to make their 2018-19 debut. The Oakland Grizzlies are all over the MAC non-conference schedule, so this first game will be a good indicator of where Tod Kowalczyk’s team is at. The two teams square off Friday at 7pm, available on ESPN 3.

There are other key match-ups, like Western Michigan at Ole Miss and Bowling Green at Saint John’s. While I am under no illusion the MAC will finish the weekend still undefeated, I do believe with a couple key wins, there could be talk of just how talented of a Mid-Major they are this season. Talented Mid-Majors have the chance of a second team being selected to the NCAA tournament.