College basketball opening night is Tuesday, November 5th, and two MAC Women’s teams have a chance to make a season long statement. The Ohio Bobcats open up at #21 ranked Syracuse, while the Eastern Michigan Eagles head a short distance away to take on the #17th ranked Spartans from Michigan State. While it is just the first night of college basketball, either game could be a huge factor in determining who gets a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Eastern Michigan Eagles at Michigan State Spartans
When: Tuesday, November 5th, 7 P.M.
Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan
If the Eastern Michigan Eagles want to announce themselves as a force to be reckoned with, then this is the perfect opener. They take on former coach Suzy Merchant and her nationally ranked Spartans. The Eagles are flying under a lot of radars at the moment, because a lot of their talent was still young last season, and quite frankly is still young. However, this team is ready to make a breakout, as they have a lot of different pieces. They have a front court that can make a huge presence inside, athletic wings, and solid guards. I fully expect to be watching a relatively close basketball game tonight.
Ohio Bobcats at Syracuse Orange
When: Tuesday, November 5th, 8 P.M.
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York
Watch/stream: ACC Network Extra
The Ohio Bobcats were picked to win the MAC. If they are to successfully carry the torch of this conference, this is a game that the Bobcats need to compete in. While I would not call it must win, as Ohio has other opportunities to announce themselves to the nation, it would be a significant feather in their cap.
Syracuse has a lot of new faces on the floor and play an uptempo game. This sets up well for the Bobcats, as a big problem for them last season was in the paint. Ohio should be able to get easy buckets from preseason first team All-MAC selection CeCe Hooks, while Amani Burke, Erica Johnson, and company should get open looks off of kick-outs. Meanwhile, I expect this team to be really good on the defensive end creating havoc, which could be extra intense for a team not used to playing together.
Both of these games should be competitive contests where each MAC school will have a chance to make a statement early. Just playing close would be nice, but a win or two would solidify the already growing opinion of the national media, which certainly would help the entire conference come March.
Editor’s note: Updated some of the game details, as they were incorrect.