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MAC Men’s Basketball Quarterfinals Preview: Miami RedHawks vs. Toledo Rockets

What a long, strange trip it’s been for both of these teams

NCAA Basketball: Toledo at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami RedHawks take on the Toledo Rockets in the third game of the day on Thursday, March 8th, with a 6:30 tip-off. The game will be available on ESPN3. Toledo has used the transfer to great effect recently, and this season was no different. Tre’Shaun Fletcher was good enough to win MAC Player of the Year. While it wasn’t a tremendous shocker that Toledo won the West, there were questions coming into the season after the departure of Taylor Jr. and Jonathan Williams.

On the other side of the court, what Miami has done has been incredible. After firing their coach and losing their best player, to say it was a shock they made it to Cleveland is an understatement. Transfer Darrian Ringo has been fantastic, averaging 7.1 assists per game, and freshman Nike Sibande is leading the team in scoring at 14.6 per clip.


For Miami to win the game

This is going to be a tough match-up for Miami, because when Toledo gets rolling, they are nearly impossible to stop on offense. On the defensive side of the ball the Rockets are long and lean and are fairly reliable, given their pace of play.

However, the RedHawks only lost by 6 in a game they were down big at the half.

Miami played much better in the second half of that contest, and a big reason was because they worked the ball to McLane. Not only can he effectively score, it helps slow the pace of play down. Sibande was a bit of a no-show in that game, and the RedHawks will need his offense this go around.


For Toledo to win the game

Hit their threes would go a long way. The Rockets were held to 7 below their season average in the first match-up, and a big reason was because they shot 28.6 from beyond the arch. On the season they are slightly above 40%.

They want to keep the pace of play in their favor, without getting sloppy. They certainly don’t want to get into a half court slug fest where poor shooting could cost them.


Prediction

Toledo has more offensive weapons and senior leadership. They also have length. I expect them to shoot better this go around, and win 80-70. If that does happen, it wont detract from the job that Jack Owens has done in Oxford, at least in my mind.