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2021 MAC Men’s Basketball Previews: February 5-6

A trio of league games, highlighted by Kent State-Akron on Friday, have huge ramifications on the #MACsketball landscape.

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

It’s the first week of February, and we have some key game to watch for #MACsketball including two on major TV networks. The tilt between Kent State and Akron should have a tone of fireworks, while Ball State will have a tough road to hoe against Toledo. Miami and Buffalo still have a lot to play for and both squads have talent, so that will certainly be a matchup to watch.

Kent State (10-4, 7-3 MAC) at Akron (10-4, 8-3 MAC) (2/5 at 7 P.M. on ESPNU, Odds: KSU -1.5)

In what could very well be the MAC game of the weekend, the Flashes are riding a three-game winning streak into Akron while the Zips had a six-game winning streak snapped in their last game in a 91-76 loss at Toledo. KSU’s tandem of Danny Pippen and Giovanni Santiago are lethal from long range with 45 three-pointers between them in conference play, while Akron’s Loren Cristian Jackson is a tremendous all-around player with 20.4 points per game, 5.9 assists, and ten steals in MAC play.

Toledo (16-4, 11-1 MAC) at Ball State (6-9, 4-6 MAC) (2/6 at noon on CBS Sports Network, UT favored to win per OddsShark.com)

The Rockets have been flying high since their one-point overtime loss at Akron as they’ve been riding a winning streak of five consecutive games, while the Cardinals are in dire need of win since they’re in the midst of a four-game skid. UT’s Marreon Jackson and Spencer Littleson are electric from long range with 119 three-balls this season, while Ishmael El-Amin has been the go-to guy for the Cards as he leads the team in points per game (14.9), assists (33), and steals (18) in MAC play.

Miami (8-6, 5-4 MAC) at Buffalo (7-6, 5-4 MAC) (2/6 at 5 P.M. on ESPN3, UB favored to win per OddsShark.com)

On paper, this should be a very competitive game as Miami and UB share common losses with Kent State, Ohio, and Toledo as well as boast similar records. Dae Dae Grant has on fire from the perimeter for the RedHawks as he posted a .511 shooting percentage from deep in conference play, while the Bulls defense can cause some problems with Josh Mballa registering 17 of the squad’s 74 steals in league action as Jeenathan Williams leads the on the offensive end with 19.0 points per game in MAC play.