Wednesday, January 11, 2006

MAC Today: Where the East continues dominance

[note: more b-ball news on Hoops Junkie]

Tonight's MAC schedule offers more West v. East action, where the East appears to be in the driver's seat in all but one of the clashes:

Ohio (8-2, 2-0) @ Eastern Michigan (3-7, 0-2)
Ohio looks to continue their perfect MAC record as they travel to Ypsilanti to face the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Bobcats, who are enjoying their best conference start since 2002, are hitting the road to face a MAC opponent for the first time this season. With a nicely balanced scoring attack (six players averaging over 7.7ppg), the Bobcats are being led by Leon Williams (12.1ppg, 7.7rpg), Mychal Green (12.7ppg, 3.6rpg), and Jeremy Fears (11.1ppg, 4.6apg), but really anyone can step up for this team in any given game. EMU, on the other hand, has lost three games in a row, including a loss to NCAA bottom-dweller Northern Colorado and a heartbreaking overtime loss at Miami. This will be the first conference game in the friendly confines, though, where they have a 3-1 record this year, including wins over California and Tulsa, and a close loss to Detroit. The Eagles are being led by 6'8" senior John Bowler, who scored 31 in the loss to Miami to become the conference's leading scorer (20.2ppg, 9.2rpg).

Audio: EMU or Ohio

CMU (2-9, 0-3 MAC) @ Miami (6-5, 3-0)
Central Michigan has the uneviable task of pursuing its first conference win when they travel to Millett Hall for their second meeting of the year with the Miami Redhawks. The RedHawks won the previous tilt, with a 75-62 victory in Mt. Pleasant. Miami was led in that game by junior forward Nathan Peavy (22pts, 10rb, 3blk, 2stl). Miami, ending their 4 game skid against top 60 RPI teams with two MAC wins last week, sits at 3-0 in conference and is enjoying their best MAC start since 1999, but they have done it in nail-biting fashion, with two come-from-behind victories: an overtime win against EMU and a 2-point victory at NIU. CMU, on the other hand, continues on a four game slide after narrowly losing to Kent last week. Things aren't looking any easier for the Chips, as they embark on a tortuous conference schedule over the next two weeks (@Miami, @Ohio, Akron, @Buffalo). Sefton Barrett (13.9ppg, 5.2rpg) has led the Chips, with support from Giordan Watson (13.5ppg, 3.6apg).

Audio: Miami or CMU

Ball State (4-6, 0-2) @ Kent State (8-5, 2-0)
Ball State continues their search for a first D1 victory in over a month as they travel to the M.A.C. Center to face a Kent team that is undefeated in MAC play. Since All-MAC guard Peyton Stovall's injury, the Cards are 1-6 against D1 squads, with four of the six losses coming after holding comfortable leads for a good portion of the game. The Cardinals are looking for consistent help for Skip Mills, who leads the team with 19.4ppg and 6.8rpg. Freshman PG Maurice Acker (9.3ppg, 4.3apg in last 4 games) and Juco transfer PF D'andre Peyton (12ppg, 5rpg in last 3 games) have stepped up, but more consistent help is needed. Kent seems to have pulled things together in spite of the injury to Nate Gerwig. Senior guard Jay Youngblood has been the rock for the team, leading scoring with a 14.6ppg average, while senior guard DeAndre Haynes has recovered from very spotty OOC performances to average 12.5ppg. Solid contributions from front-liner Kevin Warzynski (8.5ppg, 5.6rpg) and freshman Issac Knight (5.9ppg, 4.9rpg) have helped to fill the void left by Gerwig's knee injury, which has led him to score only 3 points in very limited action in the last 5 games.

Audio: BSU or Kent, and track live stats via Kent's page

NIU (7-4, 2-1) @ BGSU (5-7, 1-1)
Northern Illinois travels to their game at Bowling Green fresh off of an exciting overtime win over Buffalo. The win earned them a mention in the AP polls (3 votes for a 39th ranking), even after suffering back-to-back last second losses in the two games before. The Huskies have landed themselves in the driver's seat in the East, and have done so due to excellent scoring balance, with four players (Sims, Hughes, McKinney and Peterson... sounds like a law firm) all averaging around 10ppg. Although BGSU has won 9 of the last 11 games against the Huskies, they are coming off of a 22 point pummeling at Western Michigan. Bowling Green is led by Martin Samarco (17.5ppg, 5.5rpg), with support from Wright, Marschall, and Floyd (another law firm...) all in the 9ish ppg range.

Audio: NIU or BG


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