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2021 MAC Men’s Basketball Previews: February 19-21

We’ve got five games on tap in a frigid edition of #MACsketball this weekend.

Charlie Cardinal / Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE Michael Hickey/US Presswire

Akron Zips (13-4, 11-3 MAC) at Ball State Cardinals (7-10, 5-7 MAC), Fri. at 7 p.m. on CBS Network Network

Few teams have been as hot as the Zips lately as they have won nine of their last ten games, while the Cards have dropped five of their last six contests. Loren Cristian Jackson has been a force for Akron in MAC play with 19.2 points per game and 61 assists, while BSU’s Ishmael El-Amin is a guy to watch from downtown as he has attempted 150 three-pointers in 12 conference games. Ball State’s defense will have its hands full as UA has shot .461 from the field in league play.

Toledo Rockets (17-6, 12-3 MAC) at Buffalo Bulls (9-6, 7-4 MAC), Fri. at 9 p.m. on ESPN2

We should be in for a show on Friday night as Toledo has shown itself to be one of the top teams in the league, while Buffalo is heating up as it is on a three-game winning streak. Marreon Jackson is a dynamite guard for the Rockets as he leads the team in points (396), assists (138), and steals (41) this season. Meanwhile, Josh Mballa of the Bulls is a double-double machine with 14.7 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game in MAC play.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (4-8, 1-7 MAC) at Kent State Golden Flashes (13-5, 10-4 MAC), Sat. at 2 p.m. on ESPN3

The Eagles finally return to action as all of their games since Jan. 26 have been postponed to this point, while the Flashes are riding a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s matchup. EMU’s Ty Groce leads the team with 14.3 points per game in MAC play, as KSU’s Danny Pippen heads up a talented squad with his 20.9 points per game.

Miami RedHawks (8-9, 5-7 MAC) at Northern Illinois Huskies (2-12, 1-8 MAC), Sat. at 6 p.m. on ESPN3

The RedHawks are in a tailspin right now as they have lost four straight contests, while NIU has beat Akron this year and dropped a one-possession game to Ohio. Miami’s Dae Dae Grant has come on strong for the team with a team-high 14.7 points per game, as NIU’s Darius Beans is a solid all-around player with 10.3 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, and 30 assists in league play. The rebounding advantage goes to the Huskies (37.8-32.4 in MAC games), so this will be a fascinating game to watch down the stretch.

Western Michigan Broncos (4-13, 3-9 MAC) at Ball State Cardinals (7-10, 5-7 MAC), Sun. at 7 p.m. on ESPN3

The Broncos have suffered back-to-back losses to Buffalo and Kent State, and will have a tough road to hoe against a competitive Ball State squad. Greg Lee is a force for WMU as he has registered 13.9 points per game and 7.8 boards per game in conference play. The two teams are very comparable on paper, so this should be a action-packed contest from start to finish.