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MAC Men’s Basketball Previews: Saturday, January 12th

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A full docket

NCAA Basketball: Toledo at Buffalo Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Each team has played a couple of conference games, and the results were all over the place. Every game is interesting, because making heads and tails of the opening results was next to impossible.


Ohio Bobcats at Ball State Cardinals

  • Time: Noon
  • Where: Muncie
  • Watch: ESPN+
  • Line: Ball State -12 All lines are from Vegasinsider.com

The Bobcats are looking for their first conference win, while the Cardinals are 1-1. Ball State had an impressive opening win against Toledo, before dropping an overtime game against Eastern Michigan. I am fairly confident with my current assessment of the Bobcats. I believe they are a youngish team that needs more consistent play from the guards. Once that happens, they will be a really good team. Teyvion Kirk and company are close, so that could happen in any game. It also might happen for a game or two, with a few steps back. I believe they are mostly a year away, but could be dangerous come conference tournament time.

The Cardinals are experienced and talented. Their record is not great because of the brutality of their non-conference schedule. Eastern Michigan shot lights out in that game, so I believe the result was an anomaly. I expect the Cardinals to win this game. If they don’t, it could mean that the Bobcats are on a faster track, or the Cardinals aren’t quite as good as I thought, or both. Or it could mean nothing. Basketball is funny that way.

While I do believe the Cardinals will win, I was surprised at just how big that line was.


Kent State Golden Flashes at Eastern Michigan Eagles

  • Time: Noon
  • Where: Ypsilanti
  • Watch: ESPN +
  • Line: Eastern Michigan -1

I usually agree with Vegas, but not this time. Kent has looked good most of this season. Eastern Michigan put it together for their Ball State game, but I think that was just a hot shooting night. Eastern Michigan is capable of beating just about anyone, but their consistency is not there.

While no one basketball result means much, this one might. If Eastern wins, I will start believing they finally turned that corner. If Kent runs away with it, I’ll believe the curb stomping by Bowling Green was a fluke, or that Bowling Green is really just that good.


Miami RedHawks at #19 Buffalo Bulls

  • When: Noon
  • Where: Buffaloish
  • Watch: CBS Sports Network
  • Line: Buffalo - 18

It is nice putting a # next to a MAC team’s name. It’s even nicer knowing that the Bulls deserve that rankings. It’s nicest knowing that at some point in this season, the Bulls will drop a game no one expects them to drop. Hopefully a number stays by their name after the loss. If it happened now, that would be questionable.

Miami is exactly the type of team that could pull off that upset. They have a couple of really talented young players. While Buffalo will probably run away with this game...


Toledo Rockets at Western Michigan Broncos

  • When: 2 P.M.
  • Where: Kalamazoo
  • Watch: ESPN +
  • Line: Toledo -6

I like this line. I think Toledo is the better team, but I also believe the talent is there on the Broncos. I normally would call this an upset special, but I honestly believe the Rockets are too talented to start conference play 0-3.


Akron Zips at Northern Illinois Huskies

  • When: 4:30 P.M.
  • Where: DeKalb
  • Watch: ESPN +
  • Line: Northern Illinois -2

This game is a microcosm of what I believe the entire MAC, minus Buffalo, is this season. Really good basketball that can go either way. This should be a highly entertaining game where Akron’s tough defense will be tested.


Bowling Green Falcons at Central Michigan Chippewas

  • When: 4:30
  • Where: Mount Pleasant
  • Watch: Must, on ESPN +
  • Line: CMU - 2.5

This is much watch streaming for any MAC shootyhoops fanatic. The Falcons have looked fabulous this conference season. The Chippewas, a team that many expected to slide once conference play began, are 2-0 in MACtion. Central Michigan can score. The Falcons have been scoring a bunch as of late, too. The two teams could combine for 180 points, in regulation. Or they could combine for 90. MAC and all. Either way, it should be fun!