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MAC Tournament quarterfinals preview

Will EMU and Akron make it to the semifinals with three wins in the MAC tournament against their intra-divisional foes?

Andrew Mascharka

(4) Toledo Rockets vs. (8) Eastern Michigan Eagles, 6:30 p.m.

There were plenty of times during the regular season where it seemed like this team wouldn't even be able to make it this far into the tournament, and now making it back to the MAC semifinals in back-to-back seasons is starting to look like it may be a reality.

The Eagles are coming off of a pair of close wins over Miami and Bowling Green to start their tournament run. The Falcons had Richaun Holmes on the floor for most of the game, something that they missed in their 13-point opening round win over Ball State on Monday. Holmes was one of two players for the Falcons to put up 18 points, but was very limited on the rebounds (5), where EMU forwards Karrington Ward and Lekan Ajayi grabbed 10 and eight, respectively.

The Rockets should be well rested with their 4-seed giving them the double-bye. Sure the Eagles have the hot hand with a 4-0 record for the month, including a 26-point win over Toledo to close out the regular season, but that was also on EMU's home court. In their first contest this season, the Rockets had the upper hand with a 24-point win on their home court in early February.

If Julius Brown, J.D. Weatherspoon and Justin Drummond can play up to their potential and Mike Talley, Raven Lee and Ward all are able to follow suit, then we can expect another exciting game in Cleveland. The winner will go on to face top-seeded Central Michigan.

(3) Kent State Golden Flashes vs. (7) Akron Zips, approx. 9 p.m.

Last night's Western Michigan vs. Akron game was exactly the opposite of how the EMU vs. BGSU game went. Scoring hardly happened, but when it did, it became the true difference maker. Life's hard when third-leading scorer on the team Noah Robotham has to miss the MAC Tournament with a torn ACL.

There's going to be a lot on Reggie McAdams' shoulders, who's shooting just north of 50 percent from the floor with 14.5 points per game over the last five games, but averages 7.2 ppg for the season.

The Golden Flashes, coming off of a double-bye with their seeding, is 6-4 in their last 10 games (3-2 in their last five) also don't have as much fatigue to worry about like the Zips do. Not only do the Zips have fatigue to look forward to, but they also lack experience that Kent State has, having only two seniors on their roster compared to Kent State's six seniors and graduate students, including MAC Sixth Man of the Year Kris Brewer.

The Pat Forsythe vs. Jimmy Hall (All-MAC honorees) matchup in the paint will be a huge difference maker, but as everybody knows a thing or two about March: guard play is everything.

This game begins around 9:00 p.m. (30 minutes after the Toledo vs. EMU game ends). The winner will go on and face no. 2-seed Buffalo.

All games can be seen on ESPN 3.