Monday night MACtion is back. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “MACtion? There is Monday night MAC football on the TV in early March?” Good guess, but no not football, the MAC Men’s Conference tournament kicks off on Monday.
The 2020 iteration of the MAC tournament will be one that you won’t want to miss out on. The MAC is often overlooked as a basketball conference but this year’s tournament should have its fair share of upsets and exciting games. Why you ask? The reason being is that no team separated themselves from the pack this year. Eight of the twelve teams finished conference play with anywhere from six to eleven conference losses. There is pretty much a log jam of decent teams in the middle of the MAC, which will make for an exciting, and let's be an honest probably unpredictable tournament.
Akron and Bowling Green might be on a collision course to meet in the Mid-American tournament finals but they will certainly have to show why they finished the league one and two to do so. Akron, played some stiff non-conference competition early on in the season to prepare them for league play and it worked out in their favor. The Zips didn’t get hot until late in the season by winning eight of their last ten and will need to keep the mojo going to get to the title game.
Even though they are still a favorite, Bowling Green limps into tournament play after losing three in a row. The Falcons were dominate all season long until recently and will have to hit the brakes on their recent losing skid if they want to play on into the weekend.
Despite being the 5th seed the Buffalo Bulls are a team that no one wants to play in the MAC tournament. The Bulls, guided under the leadership of Jayvon Graves, have already beaten some of the league's top teams and can score at will, averaging 78.6 points a game, which is 31st in the country. Watch out for this Bulls team, they are going to be a tough out for the rest of the league.
Players to Watch:
Toledo’s Willie Jackson is averaging almost 12 boards and 12 points a game for the Rockets, plus he shoots nearly fifty percent from the floor. Jackson’s size and experience make it difficult for opponents to get easy baskets inside and his nose for the basketball is second to none. If you want to watch an all-around complete player check out Willie Jackson on Monday
Tahjai Teague from Ball State can do a little bit of it all. He can score, he can rebound, he can run the floor and he can protect the rim. Teague has 48 blocks in 2020 and has been key in Ball State’s success this year. The Cardinals will lean on Teague to advance during tournament play.
Last but not least, look out for Eugene German on the court. He has been the main offensive engine for Northern Illinois in 2020. Shooting over 30% from beyond the arch has helped lead him to be the Huskies #1 scorer. Thus far this season German has not been held under 10 points in any game, season-low was 12 points, twice, and is a natural scorer who is exciting to watch.
The 1st Round of the Mid-American Tournament kicks Monday, with the lower-seeded teams being host sites (Ohio, Buffalo, Toledo, and Kent State). The Quarterfinals through the Finals (March 12-14) will be held in Cleveland, Ohio at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
See below for the full tournament bracket.
Based on some statistics, the eye test, a couple of hunches and some March magic check out my MAC Tournament prediction below.