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Several marquee match-ups are on the schedule this month.

NCAA Basketball: Akron at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After a somewhat lackluster November in terms of must-see #MACsketball games, business definitely picks up in the last month of the year as teams seek to separate themselves ahead of the conference season. Akron kicked off the December slate on Saturday at #10 Creighton in a 82-70 loss despite getting the game within four points in the second half.

Miami continues the great slate on Tuesday night as it travels to Missouri for a showdown with the Tigers on the SEC Network. Mizzou hasn’t been blowing the doors off of anybody this season, but the team nearly took down a highly touted Xavier team in overtime and have an average scoring margin of +8.7 through seven games.

On Wednesday, we have a double-dose of big-time #MACtion with Western Michigan taking on an always-solid Cleveland State team while Buffalo hits the road to play Pittsburgh. The Vikings haven’t had the success they wanted this season with a 2-5 record, but they took Kent State to overtime and have a brutal non-conference schedule with a 31-point loss to Kentucky with Ohio and Purdue coming up shortly. Pitt nearly lost in double overtime against Eastern Michigan, so the Bulls may be able to do the thing against the Panthers.

Akron gets in on the action Saturday with a big match-up against #8 Gonzaga. The Zags are 8-0 on the year with good wins over Florida, Iowa State, and Arizona, so the Zips have a very tall task ahead of them this weekend as Gonzaga’s average margin of victory is 18.9 points per game.

Meanwhile, Northern Illinois has a huge test on Sunday as the team heads north to play Minnesota. While the Golden Gophers haven’t been real impressive this season, they have a couple of wins against teams that are known for being tough in St. John’s and Florida State, so the Huskies will have to play sound basketball if they want to come away with a momentum-building win.

The following weekend has some great games as Marshall and Akron lock horns on the 17th, WMU takes on Washington on the 18th, and EMU tips off against Syracuse the following day. The Thundering Herd managed to knock off Ohio this season, while the Huskies don’t really have a good win this season (THEY LOST AT HOME TO YALE!) and the Eagles will have a shot against the Orangemen as the ‘Cuse has been inconsistent as well.

On December 21, the Broncos have another huge opportunity as they head west to take on a very good #11 UCLA team. The Bruins are riding high after beating #1 Kentucky and T.J. Leaf is one of the better all-around players in the country, so the cross-country game looks like some tough sledding for Western Michigan.

The Golden Flashes closes out the slate of big-time games this month on the 27th as they hit the road for a showdown with Texas. The Longhorns have been up-and-down this season with a 4-3 record, but their defense can give KSU some problems as they have forced 12.6 turnovers, 5.3 steals, and 5.3 blocks per game.

With all of these games and more on tap this month, it’s time for the contenders in the MAC to separate themselves from the pretenders with league play rapidly approaching. Several teams have legitimate chances of pulling off upsets, so #MACsketball should be must-see TV in December.