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2016 MAC Tournament bracket is set: Akron and Ohio are top seeds

It's officially tournament time in the MAC

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
What a silly, ridiculous conference we have here in Mid-America. I absolutely love it.

The regular season closed out with the classic MACtion feel we've come to expect of it, and now, finally, the 2016 MAC Men's Basketball Tournament field is set in stone. Here's your first look.

Top Half

First Round - March 7th, Campus Sites

8. Eastern Michigan vs 9. Toledo - Ypsilanti, MI - 7:30 p.m. EST - EMU Leads season series 2-0

The 79-75 nail biter Friday night just wasn't enough to settle the score between these two MAC West rivals, and they'll have to go toe-to-toe for a third time on Monday. The Eagles won the right to the first round home game behind a 26 point explosion by Raven Lee off the bench in the regular season finale vs the Rockets. Toledo's Nathan Boothe had 26 of his own to no avail, and will need a little more help if the Rockets are to avoid a first round exit and an 0-3 mark against the Eagles.

5. Kent State vs 12. Bowling Green- Kent, OH - 7:00 p.m. EST - KSU leads season series 2-0

The Falcons gave Buffalo all they could handle on Friday night, but came up just short at home 87-83. The Flashes similarly could not get it done in Akron as they fell 74-60. Kent State narrowly misses a shot at a first round bye, but has defeated Bowling Green twice this season, including most recently by 16 on March 1st.

Quarterfinals - March 10th, Quicken Loans Arena

Eastern Michigan/Toledo  vs 1. Akron - Noon

The ZIps knew they'd be the one seed heading into the night, but have to be feeling good after comfortably beating their rivals, Kent State on Friday night. It was a total team effort for Keith Dambrot's squad in the season finale, winning by 14 points with just three players in double figures.

Kent State/Bowling Green vs 4. Central Michigan- Time TBA

The consolation prize for Central Michigan after their heartbreaking loss on senior night to Western Michigan is the pivotal first round bye. However, the quarterfinals will get a lot less friendly if Kent State comes out of the first round. The Chippewas at one point held an 18 point lead over WMU, only to eventually lose in overtime by 9. They'll have plenty of rest to get over Friday's loss, and will follow the first quarterfinal game in Cleveland.

Bottom Half

First Round - March 7th, Campus Sites

7. Northern Illinois vs 10. Western Michigan - Dekalb, IL- 8: p.m EST - Season series tied 1-1

Both the Huskies and Broncos are coming off gigantic wins over arch rivals Ball State and Central Michigan, respectively. For the Broncos, the overtime win in Mount Pleasant earned them a 10 seed and the Huskies earn a match up with a team they handled rather easily last time out. The Huskies put five players in double figures Friday night, led by Aaric Armstead with 14 points and 7 rebounds. No Marin Maric? No problem.

6. Ball State vs 11. Miami- Muncie, IN- 7:00 p.m. EST- Ball State leads season series 2-0

The Cardinals were unable to capitalize on a CMU loss Friday night, falling to Northern Illinois. On the up side, they get to play a Miami team they beat twice in the regular season, though it could be argued this is far from the same RedHawk team. Miami nearly defeated Ohio at home to end the regular season, which would have pushed them to the 10 seed, continuing the hot play they've shown the last four weeks. The RedHawks might still be the hottest team headed into the first round, and with Ball State on the ropes this could be the most likely upset of the MAC tournament.

Quarterfinals - March 10th, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

Northern Illinois/Western Michigan vs Ohio- 6:30 p.m

The Bobcats are a combined 2-1 against WMU and NIU, with a split against the Huskies. The Bobcats are here following their close, 67-65 win over Miami and a little help from the very Bronco they could meet in the second round after their win at Central Michigan. Antonio Campbell continued his player of the year type season with 25 points and 13 rebounds, and should continue to be a force going forward.

Ball State/Miami vs 3. Buffalo - Time TBA

The Bulls are 1-1 against Miami and 1-0 against Ball State. The Bulls got here by sneaking out of Bowling Green alive and watching the rest of the teams tied at 10-7 (except Ohio) go down in flames at the same time. Nate Oats deserves big time consideration for coach of the year in the MAC after the work he's done with a shorthanded team in the midst of an abrupt coaching change. The Bulls will have a great shot to repeat as champions in 2016.

Semifinals and Finals March 11th & 12th, Quicken Loans Arena

Semifinal Game 1 - 6:30 pm - March 11th
Semifinal Game 2 - 30 minutes following completion of game 1
MAC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game - March 12th - 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)