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MAC Basketball Weekly Recap

 

Scores

Wednesday, January 18

Bowling Green 65, Miami-Ohio 57

Ohio 87, Kent State 65

Buffalo 82, Akron 70

Ball State 73, Central Michigan 52

Eastern Michigan 62, Western Michigan 59 (OT)

Toledo 71, Northern Illinois 41

Saturday, January 21

Ohio 69, Miami-Ohio 65

Eastern Michigan 41, Toledo 38

Western Michigan 64, Central Michigan 61

Buffalo 68, Bowling Green 66

Akron 84, Kent State 75

Ball State 75, Northern Illinois 65

It was a week for Bobcats, Cardinals and Eagles to celebrate, and for Golden Flashes to be concerned about. The Mid-American Conference race took a distinct turn, as Ohio and Ball State rose while Kent State suffered an awful double whammy.

First, Ohio. The Bobcats - who had been knocked down a few pegs early in the month of January - found their stride over the past week, flooring Kent State in emphatic fashion before pulling out a grinder against Miami University. Ohio was in danger of sliding to the middle tier of the MAC, but these twin wins will restore a sense of order in Athens while also fueling this team's confidence for the road ahead. This was exactly the kind of revitalizing stretch Ohio needed, and now its place in the pecking order of the conference isn't so precarious.

 

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Another team that has to feel particularly good about itself is Ball State. Coach Billy Taylor's team mopped up against Central Michigan and Northern Illinois to move to 4-1 in the league. It's true that Central and NIU are not two of the stronger teams in the MAC, but Ball State's ability to take care of business in two double-digit wins shows that the Cardinals are likely to be an appreciably high seed in the MAC Tournament in early March. Ball State owns a rich basketball tradition dating back to the Rick Majerus years in the late 1980s and the 1990 season, and this season is beginning to recall some of those good vibes.

A third team that made a mark in the MAC this past week was Eastern Michigan. The Eagles didn't look pretty, but they didn't need to. They barely climbed past Western Michigan on Wednesday in overtime before surviving Toledo in a rock fight on Saturday. Given the nature of MAC football this past season, each of those two scores - 62 to 59 and especially 41 to 38 - could have been viewed as football scores, but no matter. EMU joins Ball State and Akron as part of the 4-1 troika in the MAC.

On the downside, this was a brutal weak for Kent State. The Golden Flashes won a few games in last year's NIT tournament and were one of the better teams in the MAC. Getting clocked by 22 points against Ohio did not start the week off right, and then losing to league favorite Akron on Saturday did not provide the KSU crew with the bounce-back it needed. A profound sense of urgency needs to enter the Golden Flashes' locker room very soon. Otherwise, this season could slip away from them.



 

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By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer