The MAC Tournament gets underway on Tuesday with first round action taking place at the higher seeded schools. The top four seeds all received first round byes. The quarterfinals through the finals will be played at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Note that following the first round, there will be a day off to allow time for the winners to travel.
Last season was an underdogs dream as the semifinals featured No. 9 vs. No. 4 and No. 7 vs. No. 3 matchups. No. 9 Ohio defeated No. 3 Akron in overtime to win the title. The type of outcome could very well happen again as no team during the regular season appeared dominant. In fact, there are a handful of lower seeded teams that earlier in the year looked like contenders. No. 8 seed Buffalo was 6-2 but fell to 8-8. The Bulls have wins over No. 1 seed Kent State, No. 2 Western Michigan and No. 3 Miami. Last year’s winner Ohio is another dangerous team playing on the first day. The fifth-seed Bobcats beat Kent State and Akron down the stretch and have a favorable matchup in round two against Ball State should they advance past Toledo. Bowling Green was 7-3 but also struggled down the stretch to finish 8-8. Akron was 9-5 before losing to Ohio and Kent in its final two games. That dropped the Zips to the No. 6 seed despite a winning record in league play. Top seed Kent State was the most consistent squad, finishing 12-4 with two losses in overtime and another by three points. Miami-Ohio benefitted by playing a brutal non-conference slate.
The MAC hasn’t seen a big drop in scoring from regular season to postseason over the last three years. It is one of the few conferences that have trended towards the Over at 22-11 O/U.
First Round (top seed host) - Tuesday
No. 12 Toledo at No. 5 Ohio
No. 11 Eastern Michigan at No. 6 Akron
No. 10 Northern Illinois at No. 7 Bowling Green
No. 9 Central Michigan at No. 8 Buffalo
Quarterfinals (@ Cleveland) - Thursday
No. 2 Western Michigan vs. 7/10 Winner
No. 3 Miami vs. 6/11 Winner
No. 1 Kent State vs. 8/9 Winner