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Open Chat: Busy Saturday marks big day in MAC hoops

4 meaningful games go down today as cross-divisional play continues.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It's a packed Saturday in #MACtion-land, with five games going on covering 8 straight hours. Four of the games are going to be highly entertaining, and while Northern Illinois-Miami may end up being close it probably won't be. So, let's check out today's five match-ups:

Away Home Time (EST) Streaming
Akron Ball State 1:00 ESPN3
Eastern Michigan Western Michigan 2:00 ESPN3
Northern Illinois Miami 3:30 ESPN3
Bowling Green Central Michigan 4:30 ESPN3
Buffalo Toledo 7:00 ESPN3

The scheduling gods did well today, spacing out the games so that only a couple overlap (unlike MAC Tuesdays, where all six games are played at the same time).

The best game of the day might just be the first one. The Akron-Ball State match-up is an intriguing one, as both teams like to shoot the three and have relatively good defensive play. One thing to watch is the frontcourt play - Akron has two capable centers in Pat Forsythe and Isaiah Johnson while the Cardinals had just 10 points in the paint last game against Buffalo.

Eastern-Western is always a battle, even though both teams sit at the bottom the of West standings at 2-5. This is a must-win game for both teams, as the loser will fall further away from the pack and likely will have to go on the road for a first-round MAC Tournament game. The winner, though, will have renewed hope and will still be in contention to sneak back into the race.

NIU-Miami should and likely will be a blowout, as the RedHawks are just really bad even at home. Miami is 0-7 this season and there isn't much hope for a win in sight.

Both Bowling Green and CMU come into the game at 4-3 in MAC play and still have aspirations of a regular season championship. The Chippewas beat the Falcons once already this season, with Braylon Rayson going off for 27. This time the Falcons are on the road, which is where they've picked up 3 out of their 4 conference wins.

The Buffalo-Toledo contest should be labeled the "Battle of Inconsistency." These two teams have been as inconsistent as any team in the conference this season. Toledo has a win over Akron but were being blown out by Ohio at home before making it close at the end. Buffalo was the only team to beat Kent State before the Flashes' loss to Ohio last night but lost at Eastern and at Western.

Saddle up, as today will likely be another wild ride.