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MAC Bandwagon Podcast, ep. 80: The contenders begin to establish themselves

After another week of MAC basketball, the true contenders have started to emerge.

Illustration: James H. Jimenez; photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, James H. Jimenez, Kenneth Bailey

Happy Friday folks! We hope you’ve all been able to stay warm as dog days of winter have descended over the Midwest. As the temperatures have dropped, the competition on the hardwood has really started to heat up!

The boys kick off the show this week with the surprising news of Jermaine Jackson, Jr. leaving Central Michigan to begin preparing for a professional career. Jackson was the Chippewas leading scorer this season at 11.4 points per game. CMU was already struggling in coach Tony Barbee’s first season, and it will be interesting to see how the Chips are able to bounce back from the loss of one of their few offensive weapons.

Elsewhere in men’s basketball, Ohio and Toledo have continued to establish themselves as the top two teams in the conference. The Bobcats have now won nine in a row after an emphatic victory over Miami on Tuesday night. Toledo has kept pace, having won five in a row, including two road victories this week over Bowling Green and Ball State. The Rockets will travel to Athens on Friday night to take on the Bobcats in what is one of the marquee games of the season in the MAC.

On the women’s side of things, Dyaisha Fair was named to the midseason watch list for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year. This is the third year in a row that Fair has made the list, and it’s well deserved, as the senior currently leads the MAC in scoring with 23.5 points per game.

Toledo continued their incredible form this week, extending their winning streak to seven games with victories over NIU and Ball State. The Rockets are now 7-0 in the MAC after being picked eighth in the pre-season poll. Buffalo and Western Michigan are hot on their trail, with the Bulls sitting at 5-0 and the Broncos at 3-1. The Bulls and the Rockets face off on Saturday in Toledo, and the winner will surely be the favorite to win the regular season crown moving forward.

As always, thanks for stopping by this week folks. We hope everyone out there is staying warm. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week!