While this weekend doesn't pack the punch of weekends past, there are still some decent contests. Certainly the Western Michigan-Northwestern match-up is the one to watch, especially after the Wildcats' home loss to Central Michigan.
Toledo (6-4) vs. McNeese State (5-3), 2:00 Saturday
Although McNeese State has a winning record, it's been inflated by playing some awful teams. The Cowboys have played four non-Division 1 teams already and have only beaten one D1 team - Louisiana-Lafayette. It's hard to take their stats seriously because of the lack of competition, but they do land in the top third of D1 in scoring and rebounding. Toledo is starting to turn it around after starting the season 2-4 and will likely bump their winning streak up to five when this game is over.
Eastern Michigan (8-2) vs. Missouri State (5-5), 3:00 Saturday
Although Missouri State may not be a name opponent, they are still a solid team to go up against for the Eagles. Against Michigan State the Eagles looked human, shooting an abysmal percentage from the field. Missouri State won't be able to do that, but the Bears can score. They average nearly 70 points per game and only lost to Washington State by five in overtime. Marcus Marshall is the guy to know for the Bears, as he put up 36 points in a loss to Tulsa. Marshall averages nearly 23 points per game, but against the Eagles' zone things could be a lot different.
Western Michigan (6-3) vs. Northwestern (6-4), 3:00 Saturday
We did a Q&A with our Northwestern blog, in which both writers think this will be a close game. It's tough to figure out what Northwestern is right now. Are they going to be the team that looked listless and uninterested against Central Michigan? Or will they come out focused after being shocked by a MAC team?
The Broncos are a better team than the Chippewas, so one with think that if CMU can do that to Northwestern, WMU should be able to hold their own. The Wildcats struggle with their interior post game and that's why CMU's Luke Meyer torched them. Drake LaMont hasn't shown that he's the next Shayne Whittington yet, but he's a solid player. He'll need to play well in order for the Broncos to win.
Ball State (3-5) vs. San Diego State (7-3), 10:00 Saturday
This one could get ugly, as San Diego State is ranked 19th in the country. The Aztecs have beaten Utah, Pitt and BYU already and have a close 3-point loss to #3 Arizona. They don't score a whole bunch (62 points per game) but have been winning games the hard way. Their leading scorer averages less than eleven points per game, but six guys average more than five points per game. Ball State will have their hands full with this one.
North Dakota State (6-4) vs. Kent State (7-2), 5:00 Sunday
The Bison are coming off a nice home win over Akron and now get Kent State in the opening game of the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, Texas. In the win over Akron, NDSU struggled shooting-wise but Akron struggled more, leading to an ugly 55-46 victory. They aren't last-year's first round upset of Oklahoma Bison, but they're still a good team. Kent State has been on a roll lately, winning three in a row including two on the road. Jimmy Hall has been fantastic this year and will need to be good again for them to win Sunday afternoon.
Bluffton (4-3) vs. Akron (6-4), 7:00 on Saturday
Ferris State (7-2) vs. Bowling Green (6-2), 1:00 on Sunday
Can we please stop this practice of playing non-Division 1 teams? Nobody gets anything out of these games and they're often just completely awful games. Anyway, Akron and Bowling Green should win by a combined 100 points.