Preview & Prediction: By Raphielle Johnson
I'm not going to even get into my opinion as to teams playing on Election Day (I sure hope the Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo players get to the polls), but there is football to be played on both Tuesday and Wednesday with all three games being MAC matchups. Could Ball State be a possible upset victim on Wednesday night? Who will take control of a muddled MAC East race after these two days? Here's a preview of the three games on the slate for Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Tuesday: Miami-Ohio (2-6, 1-3) @ Buffalo (4-4, 2-2) 7:30 PM EST on ESPN2
The No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan beat No. 10 Ball State 59-55 to put the Cardinals out of their misery and moved into the semifinals against No. 2 Western Michigan at noon. Justin Dobbins led the Eagles with 21 points, including a put-back that gave them a 45-44 lead and led to an 8-0 run to pull away from Ball State.
“We expected them to play well. They had nothing to lose. They are a much better team than that record indicates.”
- Eastern Michigan coach Charles Ramsey
Toledo has been on a run lately and they get arguably their toughest test this week as they travel to Athens, Ohio to meet up with the Ohio Bobcats. These two teams are seemingly going in different directions right now. Toledo is currently undefeated in MAC play and is looking like a lock to get the first round bye in the MAC tournament. Ohio plays well at home but is another team all together when it goes on the road. The good news for Ohio is this game is on the road.
First of all before getting any further it is important to look at two things. First of all, Toledo plays in the very watered down MAC West division. It isn’t hard to go undefeated when your opponents are the directional Michigan schools and Northern Illinois. However, Toledo has shown some strength when they went on the road and beat Buffalo in New York. They just got done taking care of Miami at home this weekend as well. Ohio has been playing very well so far this year at home and that’s what really makes this game so interesting.
The MAC had four teams in action yesterday and last night with all but one team winning. Kent State picked up a good win at home over Detroit. Marquette handed it to Eastern Michigan. Toledo took care of Middle Tennessee State in overtime, and Buffalo came away with an impressive win over Miami (FL).
Kent State had a balanced attack lead them to a 61-48 victory over the University of Detroit Mercy at the MAC Center yesterday afternoon. Kent State held Detroit to just 38 percent shooting and withstood a hot start from behind the 3-point line from the Titans. Detroit hit its first three triples, but then proceeded to only shoot three-of-16 the rest of the game. Freshmen guard Rodriguez Sherman led Kent State with 14 points in his first colleigate start. Due to many suspensions of players he was thrust into the lineup and did not commit one turnover in 31 minutes of play. Senior Armon Gates scored 12 points and brought down a career high 8 rebounds. He is known more for his 3 point shooting ability but in this game he was only able to make two three pointers. Kent State returns to action on Tuesday when they host Temple University.
The MAC had three teams in action and while they went 2-1 none of the two teams that won had very impressive wins. Toledo was in action against Iowa in the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam Tournament, Miami won big over Florida A&M, and Buffalo won a close one at home over Cleveland State. On to the recaps:
Toledo fought hard against Iowa but came up short 78-65 in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament. The seniors held the Rocket’s in this game though. Senior guard Justin Ingram paced the Rockets with 22 points, 4 steals and 4 rebounds and was a point shy of his career scoring high. Senior forward Keonta Howell chipped in 16 points and six rebounds and senior forward Florentino Valencia scored 12 points and came down with a team high 8 rebounds. Freshmen forward Tyler Smith scored a game high 28 points for the Hawkeyes. The Rockets were able to shut down Iowa’s leading scorer, Adam Haluska, limiting him to only 10 points. However, that opened the door for Smith’s big night. Iowa also destroyed Toledo on the boards with a 51-30 rebounding edge. Toledo will face Middle Tennessee State tonight as the Blue Raiders dropped their game last night against 10th ranked Alabama.