Another chilly weekend, another great slate of #MACsketball games as we have a pair of primetime TV games on Friday and a couple of intriguing matchups on Saturday.
Akron Zips (11-4, 9-3 MAC) at Miami RedHawks (8-7, 5-5 MAC), 7 p.m. on ESPNU, UA -4.5
The matchup on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Friday features two teams trending in opposite directions, as Akron has won seven of its last eight games while Miami has dropped three of its last four contests. The Zips boast one of the top players in the MAC this season as Loren Cristian-Jackson has put up 20.5 points per game this season, while Dae Dae Grant of the RedHawks has been on fire from downtown with a .537 shooting percentage from three-point range in conference play. Miami’s shooters will have to overcome Akron’s length as UA has hauled in over 40 rebounds per game this season.
Western Michigan Broncos (4-11, 3-7 MAC) at Buffalo Bulls (8-6, 6-4 MAC), 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
Our nightcap at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network Friday looks to be a total mismatch on paper, but the Broncos have won their last two games and Buffalo has three losses in its last six matchups. Greg Lee has been a great player all season long for the Broncos with his 13.9 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game in MAC play, while Jeenathan Williams has been equally impressive for the Bulls with 18.0 points per game and 7.0 boards per game during that same stretch. UB dominates the paint with over 42 rebounds per game in league action, so a slower pace of play might benefit the Brown and Gold.
Northern Illinois Huskies (2-10, 1-6 MAC) at Kent State Golden Flashes (11-5, 8-4 MAC), 1 p.m. ESPN3
It’s been a while since we’ve seen NIU in action since its last seven games were cancelled, but that may have been a good thing as the Huskies lost five of their last six games before that time. On the end of the spectrum, KSU had competitive losses to Akron and one-possession defeats against Toledo in what has been an impressive season for the team.
Trendon Hankerson of the Huskies is a solid scorer with 13.3 points per game and a team-high 52 three-point attempts in seven MAC games this season, while Danny Pippen is a star for the Flashes with 22.4 points per game and 10.2 boards per in conference play. KSU is certainly the more polished offensive squad, so the Huskies will have to find a way to manufacture stops to keep this game close.
Bowling Green Falcons (10-9, 6-7 MAC) at Toledo Rockets (16-5, 11-2 MAC), 2 p.m. on ESPN3
BG has been a perplexing team this season as they have beaten both Ohio and Buffalo on the road, but are currently in the midst of a six-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Rockets saw their five-game winning streak snapped in their last outing in an 81-67 loss at Ball State.
Justin Turner has been an outstanding guard for the Falcons in MAC games as he has posted 20.1 points per game and 62 assists, while UT’s Marreon Jackson has been equally marvelous in the backcourt with 16.7 points per game, five rebound per game, and 119 assists on the year. Toledo’s shooting gives them an edge in this game, but don’t be surprised if Bowling Green keeps it close.