You can watch Toledo vs. Northern Illinois at 6:30 (EST) on CBS Sports Network.
A classic MAC West match up we're used to seeing on the football field is happening in DeKalb on Friday night on the basketball court. A match up of the MAC West leaders will showcase four of the top players in the MAC thus far Jonathan Williams, Nathan Boothe, Marin Maric and Travon Baker. These four have led their perspective teams through MAC play thus far. It's an intriguing game as NIU won the first matchup after a strong second half and a late run to pull out a 71-66 victory.
The defense for Northern will be key as they hold opponents to only 64.2 points per game. The Huskies have fell being in their last two games early and have been down at halftime in each game. They will have to come out with a strong start and finish vs. Toledo as they have two stars themselves mentioned above. Levi Bradley is a name to watch in this game as he had a strong effort vs. Central Michigan on Tuesday with 14 points. The Huskies will need not only their bench to step but another player besides Maric and Baker vs the Rockets.
Boothe has been an absolute beast this season averaging 19 points per game and nine rebounds. The senior has 1,332 points in his career and over 650 rebounds. A remarkable stat is that each season thus far he has been above 45% from the field and 72% from the free throw line with 87% being his high last year. I look for Boothe to have a huge game in this one around 20+ points and 10+ rebounds while contributing five assists.
My prediction for the game is Northern 76 and Toledo 71 almost a mirror image of their game on January 12th. I just think there is a contributor on Northern's bench that's going to have a big enough impact to tip the scales their way. After this game the Huskies travel to Akron and the Rockets host the Ohio Bobcats.