"Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
Yes, it's true. Here at Line Drills the beginning of the 2014 MAC league season has been downright unkind to us, as we posted an ugly 3-9 mark over the first week. But we're not ugly like Northern Illinois and Bowling Green - a combined 22 of 49 from the charity stripe on Sunday.
No, we're cute ugly, like the fat, squat little bulldog who shuffles and snorts his way into your heart. But like the bulldog, we're also tough. And ready to work hard. And get dirty.
We're also tickled pink to have an excuse to watch MAC basketball. I had the good fortune to watch the overtime WMU / Miami game Saturday and the double overtime Akron / Ohio game Sunday. Friends, you won't see two better sporting events this year. They beat the pants off of the NFL games that were on the TV. Remember - all this #MACtion is free for your streaming pleasure. Take advantage. Enjoy.
Western Michigan @ Eastern Michigan (-6)
An exciting matchup gets the MAC spotlight dance on Tuesday, as these teams figure to jostle with Toledo for the Western division crown. The Eagles come home for their first MAC home game, off of a competitive loss at Buffalo Saturday. The Broncos are 2-0 in the MAC after gutting out a scintillating win at Miami to follow-up on the season-opening spanking of Toledo. Each team won narrowly on its home court in last season's series - Eastern winning in OT in Ypsilanti for the second straight year. They played 30 minutes to a draw at the Q in March before the Broncos pulled away to win by 15.
The Eagles swept the home-and-home in 2011-12. Note that in all 5 of these games played during the Rob Murphy era the point totals have been under 125, and that includes two overtime tussles. We're not officially picking over/unders here at Line Drills, but we bring this trend to you as a public service. Bottom line: this is a pretty even matchup, and figures to be a terrific game.
Player(s) to watch: Connar Tava for the Broncos, coming off two games with 47 points on 16-17 from the floor, 15-20 from the line, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. And forget early season statistical stud Karrington Ward, who may have left his mojo in 2013 - the Eagles' leader in the front court is Glenn Bryant, coming off of 19 & 10 against Buffalo.
The pick: Western Michigan +6.
I was expecting close to a pick'em game - didn't Western just prove their mettle against Toledo? - so the points are a bonus. It's one thing for EMU to lose a lot of competitive games. Show me that you can beat a top team before I feel comfortable laying points.
Wednesday's full preview tomorrow.