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Open Chat: MACtion packed Saturday afternoon

Big day for a lot of teams treading water, and is NIU really that good?

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Here's your lineup today ladies and gentlemen, all times Eastern:

Away Home Line Time Streaming
Western Michgan Ball State BSU -5.0 2:00 p.m. ESPN3
Northern Illinois Ohio OU -5.5 2:00 p.m. ESPN3
Bowling Green Miami BG -1 3:30 p.m. ESPN3
Eastern Michigan Buffalo UB -6.0 3:30 p.m. ESPN3
Toledo Kent State KSU -1.5 7:00 p.m. ESPN3

The 2 p.m. block is a big day for teams trying to convince us that their actually good. Since taking the MAC by storm in January, the NIU Huskies have fallen to 5-4 and need to beat a tough Ohio team to stay at .500 in the conference. Ohio, on the other hand, sits at 4-5 and has looked really good at times and really bad at others. Can they spoil NIU's resurgence and better position themselves for the MAC tournament?

Ball State has done their best to convince us they are good, but I'm still not buying it. At 5-4 they too were the big story in the early going of MAC play, but since then everything has gone back to normal. Akron and Central Michigan lead their divisions just as we all thought they would. However, the Cardinals get to take a shot at a Western Michigan team that struggles mightily on the road and coming off of an embarrassing effort against Toledo.

The 3:30 games are interesting, in that Miami could get its second win of the season. Bowling Green showed early promise but now firmly planted back on Earth has a great opportunity to get to .500 in the league at Miami. But don't be too confident, Falcons fans, you all saw what Miami did to NIU's season. They'll gladly do it to you, too.

How about Eastern Michigan and Buffalo? Two teams that have done a complete 180 since they last played go toe-to-toe in Buffalo and the stakes couldn't be higher for either. James Thompson IV has been incredible for the Eagles as a freshman, but hasn't been enough for the green and white to avoid a 3-6 record and a ton of head scratching. Buffalo has done a wonderful job given its roller coaster off season, and is in as good a position as any to compete with Akron in the East.

The nightcap is a good one. The Rockets haven't lived up to their potential so far this season, but showed what they can do against Western Michigan last week. Kent State is still a good basketball team even without Xavier Pollard, out with injury.

I'll be giving my predictions in the comments, so what are you waiting for? Get in here, fire up those laptops and take in this Saturday of MACsketball.