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MAC Tournament preview: Top seeds go at it in the semifinal round

Buffalo is looking to make a run at the NCAA tournament as an at-large team at the very least, but maybe they should focus on winning the only two games that they need to win in Cleveland, starting with Akron.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

(4) Toledo Rockets vs. (1) Central Michigan Chippewas, 6:30 p.m.

The Rockets finally got playing their first game in the MAC tourney, taking care of the Eastern Michigan Eagles with ease. J. D Weatherspoon stole the show, owning the glass on both ends of the floor: an area where EMU made the difference in their previous game against Bowling Green. Weatherspoon came away with a double-double (13 points, 15 rebounds) while Nathan Boothe led the Rockets with 20 points.

Now they get to play CMU, who is coming off of a triple-bye after winning the MAC regular season title and becoming the top-seeded team in this tournament. The Rockets are in a good groove right now, and asking two games in a row out of them isn't as demanding as what Akron is going to have to go through, but CMU still has the clear upper hand. It's not because they're more rested, but Toledo wasn't able to beat them in the regular season at all.

There may have been four of of five starters to hit double-digit scoring last night for the Rockets, but a good hot streak from CMU is all it takes for them to get things going their way. They haven't played in a week, coming off of a road loss to Western Michigan, but the Chippewas are 7-3 in their last 10 games and they still have John Simon, who's nearly made half of his 185 3-point shot attempts for the season.

Cleveland is a neutral site, but the Quicken Loans Arena oughta be rocking with both fan bases in this game, and even moreso now that we've hit the Friday and Saturday games.

(7) Akron Zips vs. (2) Buffalo Bulls, approx. 9 p.m.

By a show of hands, how many of us had Kent State winning the MAC Tournament?

A huge upset win by the Zips last night over the Golden Flashes in a 53-51 contest. Pat Forsythe only had 13 minutes on the floor, but he was more than serviceable with his 12 points (led team) and three rebounds.

It wasn't necessarily a dominating win by the Zips, and if it weren't for poor shooting from the Golden Flashes, most notably Deveraux Manley's 1-for-6 and Kris Brewer's 1-for-10 shooting performances in 37 and 27 minutes respectively. Asking the same from the Bulls probably isn't in their best interest.

Buffalo averages nearly 75 points per game, led by MAC Player of the Year Justin Moss (18.4 ppg) and Shannon Evans (15.3 ppg). Junior guard Jarryn Skeete makes 40.4 percent of his 3-point shots and averages 5.6 attempts per game. If he can help get Buffalo to the lead that Kent State couldn't get to last night, then Akron is going to have to pick up the pace if they're going to have any shot at making the MAC championship game tomorrow night.

There's plenty of depth on the UB bench that could stop just about any team in the nation that's about to play their fourth game in five days.