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MAC Basketball Weekly Recap
Tuesday, January 10
Ball State 70, Toledo 68
Wednesday, January 11
Akron 56, Bowling Green 55
Ohio 60, Buffalo 52
Central Michigan 60, Eastern Michigan 56
Kent State 71, Miami-Ohio 67
Western Michigan 77, Northern Illinois 68
Saturday, January 14
Eastern Michigan 51, Ball State 48
Western Michigan 74, Toledo 52
Akron 68, Ohio 63
Northern Illinois 74, Central Michigan 66
Miami-Ohio 52, Buffalo 51
Kent State 92, Bowling Green 87
Last year, the Akron Zips emerged from a completely crowded field to snare the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Zips are much more of a marked team, but so far, they're handling the pressure that comes with bearing the bullseye in a mid-major conference.
The big tilt in the MAC this past week was Akron's encounter with Ohio University. You will recall that Ohio won the 2010 MAC Tournament and made its way to the Big Show, when the Bobcats, as a No. 14 seed, stunned third-seeded Georgetown in the first round. Ohio didn't just beat the Hoyas, it bludgeoned GU with a high-flying, fast-pace game that generated a festival of dunks and threes. Ohio possesses an appreciably robust brand name in the world of MAC basketball, so Akron was facing a formidable foe in the early stages of the new conference season.
Over the long run of a basketball season, the superstars will carry the bulk of the load, but role players and reserves have to make timely contributions, those small but telling interventions that tip the balance in key moments. Akron received one such contribution against Ohio. The Zips were down 57-55 with 4:30 left in regulation, but Alex Abreu scored all of his five points in just over two minutes to revitalize his team in a time of tension. That Abreu flurry, a 3-pointer and subsequent two-point jumper, powered a 9-0 Akron burst, and the Zips found the finishing kick they so clearly needed. That's how winning seasons, successful seasons, are built in the context of college basketball.
By Matt Zemek