Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MAC Today: Recapping one game and setting up tonight's action

[Guest blogging at Hoops Junkie for the rest of the week... Go check 'em out]

First, a quick mention of the non-league action for Akron last night. Led by Dru Joyce (12 points, 8 boards), Romeo Travis (12 points) and Nate Linhart (also 12 points), the Zips secured their 6th straight victory and their 12th for the season on the road against Horizon League opponent Cleveland State. After leading by 16 points midway through the half, Akron let the Vikings within 8 with 6 to go before the Zips took control back and finished out. Akron resumes MAC action on Wednesday at CMU.

On to tonight's action:

Western Michigan (4-10, 1-3) @ Kent State (10-5, 4-0)

Kent State will attempt to keep pace with the rest of the MAC East leaders tonight as they host Western Michigan. All signs point to a victory for the Flashes, who are 5-0 in MAC play this year, matching their best start in their history in the MAC. Western Michigan is coming off of a streak of five losses in the last six games. To further compound the Broncos' predicament, Kent has won six in a row against WMU at the M.A.C Center. Sophomore Joe Reitz leads the Broncos (14.1ppg, 7.4rpg), while Kent is led by Jay Youngblood (14.9ppg), Deandre Haynes (9.3ppg, 3.9apg), and a resurgent Kevin Warzynski (9.3ppg, 5.8rpg). Omni Smith has been fantastic recently as well for the Flashes, earning a MAC East Player of the Week designation after his 18ppg average last week.

Las Vegas says: KENT STATE 11½ over Western Michigan

Audio: Kent or WMU, and follow live stats at Kent's webpage
Gametime: 7 p.m. (ET)

Ohio (10-2, 4-0) at Northern Illinois (8-5, 3-2)

The game I'll be listening to is the OU/NIU clash. Ohio has coasted through a schedule filled with the bottom-feeders of the West, but today they will face what may be their first serious in-conference challenge when they travel to DeKalb. The Bobcats have won four straight matchups and are still undefeated in MAC play in their best start since 1941, while Northern Illinois leads the West division with a 3-2 mark. It should be an interesting game in that Bobcats lead the MAC in opponent scoring (60.7), while the Huskies lead the MAC in field goal percentage (49.3%). Ohio is still depending on their balanced scoring, with six players averaging between 7 and 12 points, led by Leon Williams (12.2ppg, 7.8rpg) , Mychal Green (11.9ppg), and (Jeremy Fears (10.4ppg, 4.8apg). NIU is very balanced as well, with five players averaging between 8 and 11 points, led by Todd Peterson (10.9ppg, 5.3rpg) and Mike McKinney (10.5ppg). Northern is 5-1 in DeKalb this year, while Ohio is 3-2 on the road.

Las Vegas says: Pick 'em

Audio: Ohio or NIU, as well as the little doggy company, channel 117. (It appears that Sirius is picking up a MAC game of the week now. XM only carries ACC, PAC-10 and Big1Ten. Is it enough to make me want to switch from my beloved XM? Nah... I can't stand Stern. And the way they're paying him and others, they'll be bankrupt soon. And XM's equipment is so much better... I think I'll wait until they go under and XM picks up the contract... Oh... what was I talking about? Basketball... right...)
Gametime: 8 p.m. (ET)


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