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2018-19 MAC Men’s Basketball Previews: Dec. 19

Four games in the MAC on Wednesday night

NCAA Basketball: Western Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We are still in the heat of non-conference play, which means teams are traveling all over the country. The MAC is in full swing on Wednesday night as Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Toledo are all throwing down at the same time.

UMKC (4-8) vs Central Michigan (8-2) - 7:00 PM

Central Michigan is off to a great start in 2018 with eight wins in 10 games. The Chippewas offense has been rolling and that is thanks to senior guard Larry Austin Jr. who is averaging 19.6 points per game. Central Michigan has scored over 80 points in 4 out of their last 5 contests. Meanwhile, UMKC has been struggling in all aspects, as they find themselves almost all the way at the bottom of the WAC just 12 games in. Their offensive production has been quite terrible as they have managed just 70 points per game thus far. Their sole bright spot has been their junior standout Xavier Bishop, who is averaging 16.8 points and 4.6 assists per game. UMKC is 4-2 in their last six games, so they carry a little bit of momentum into this matchup.

NCAA Basketball: UMKC at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Western Michigan (5-5) vs Dayton (5-5) - 7:00 PM

Both of these teams are sitting at .500 and both have equally been struggling. Western Michigan has dropped three out of their last five games, while Dayton has won just once in their last five contests. Dayton has faced some pretty stout competition recently, losing to Oklahoma, Mississippi State, and Auburn. Meanwhile, Western Michigan has fallen to Nicholls, South Carolina Upstate, and #5 Michigan. Broncos center Seth Dugan is averaging 16.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game but has scored just a total of 14 points in their last two matchups. Western Michigan has been bad on the defensive side of the ball allowing 72.3 points per game, which top scorer for Dayton, forward Josh Cunningham, will be able to exploit in this matchup.

UC Irvine (10-2) vs Eastern Michigan (5-5) - 7:00 PM

These two teams matchup fairly well in this matchup. Both Eastern Michigan and UC Irvine average 71.7 points per game and both rebound the ball at about the same rate. The key in this game for both squads will be defense. Eastern Michigan have one of the best rebounders in college basketball with senior James Thompson IV under the rim. Thompson IV is averaging 9.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, and he has a knack for blocking basketballs at a high-level. UC Irvine is led by their junior guard Max Hazzard, averaging 10.4 points per game. Hazzard had an incredible performance in their last game out, scoring 32 points in just 21 minutes. Not to mention, he shot 10-for-17 from beyond the arc.

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Michigan at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Cornell (4-5) vs Toledo (10-1) - 7:00 PM

The Toledo Rockets have not really been tested so far this season. Their sole loss is coming from Wright State back in November, other than that it has been smooth sailing. The Big Red have struggled thus far, especially recently as they have dropped five of their last seven games. Cornell’s biggest struggles have been offense and rebounding. The Big Red’s scoring production comes from their senior leader Matt Morgan. The North Carolina native is averaging a whopping 23.7 points per game and has failed to score over 20 points just twice in nine games. The Rockets have plenty of scoring outlets, as they are scoring 83.1 points per game as a team. If Toledo can shut Morgan down, they should be able to win this game with ease.