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MAC Women's Tournament Semifinal Preview

Toledo and Central Michigan will steal the show with what should be a terrific, back-and-forth game. After that, Ball State and Akron play the battle of which team is more surprising.

First- and second- round games can be fun, nail-biting affairs, but none of that feel-good stuff. It's time for the top teams in the MAC to finally show up and give everyone hope that they can win the MAC and also put up a good showing in the NCAA tournament.

Both games will be on, SportsTime Ohio and ESPN3.

12 noon (4) Central Michigan (19-11, 12-4) vs. (1) Toledo (27-2, 15-11)

You may not be a lover of women's basketball, but then again if you don't care about it then you didn't click on this. Nevertheless, looking at this game and the rest of the field, this semifinal game most likely holds the winner to the MAC tournament. Both teams split the season series with road wins, but mind you that CMU's was to start the season, while Toledo hasn't lost since.

Central Michigan has made a name for itself as a giant killer, beating not only UT but also two-loss Green Bay, and then just obliterating Bowling Green by 33 points, and nobody does that to them. Sue Guevara and the Chips own the MAC's most efficient offense and, as fate has it, they're going up against the most efficient defense. CMU is also the only team — men's or women's — since this new tournament format began in 2012 that has won a semifinal game over a higher-ranked seed.

Dumb Prediction: A wildly entertaining game featuring runs by both teams ends up with Toledo moving on, 71-65.

2:30 p.m. (3) Akron (22-8, 12-4) vs. (2) Ball State (15-14, 12-4)

They've got a tough act to follow on that floor, but both teams are a couple of surprise stories, Ball State more than Akron, so whoever advances is going to face a tough challenge. But that's tomorrow; first they gotta worry about each other. In their regular season matchup, Akron won 64-52 marked by a rough shooting night for basically everyone on the Cardinals, save for Freshman of the Year Nathalie Fontaine. Shooting the ball certainly isn't their beacon of strength, but defense is; they're second behind Toledo in defensive points allowed per possession. And that's good; Akron's offensive PPP is No. 2 in the MAC.

Dumb Prediction: Will the Zips break the rest of the MAC's heart by putting both sexes into title games? We'll figure that out later tonight, but the women oughta get a rematch against Toledo after disposing of Brady Sallee's Cardinals, 59-52.