Posted: 12:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013
By Brandon Hickey
A loaded slate for #MACHoops is a great sign for a sub-par football weekend.
Normally MAC Basketball takes a back seat to Football this time of year, but when the only games this weekend are Bowling Green-Eastern Michigan and UMass-Central Michigan, it's basketball's turn in the spotlight. We're finally getting into the teeth of the non-conference schedule and there are a lot of great match-ups to watch tomorrow.
|Butler||Ball State||2:00 p.m.||MACDN|
|Bowling Green||Saint Louis||7:00 p.m.||None|
|Niagara||Kent State||7:00 p.m.||MACDN|
|Texas-Arlington||Eastern Michigan||7:00 p.m.||MACDN|
|Cal State Northridge||Central Michigan||7:30 p.m.||MACDN|
Better getcha laptops ready, it's gonna be a long day.
Butler and Ball State is the premier match-up of the day, so thank goodness the other games in the two o'clock time slot are snoozers. The Bulldogs might have lost their head coach, but that doesn't mean they are slouches. Starting off the season 3-0 is impressive, and their latest win over Vanderbilt was a little surprising. You may not know the names of the Butler players anymore, but they're the same type of players that Butler has always had. Kellen Dunham is the main man, averaging over 35 minutes per game and putting up eighteen points. This one will be interesting to watch and hopefully Worthen Arena is packed.
So yesterday I thought Toledo and Detroit were playing...nope it's today. It's a good thing that not much has changed in one day. Detroit's 2-2 after losing to South Alabama and UConn and beating James Madison and a DII school. Juwon Howard leads the way for the Titans, and you may remember him for his one year stint at Western Michigan. Carlton Brundidge came to Detroit from Michigan, so he's got the talent to give Toledo fits. The Rockets should win, but if they have a cold shooting day it could be more of a problem.
Bowling Green continues their difficult road trip at Saint Louis. The Billikens haven't lost yet, but also haven't really played anyone. Jordair Jett is the name to know; he's been a constant force for the past three years. This year is no different, as he's averaging thirteen points per game and four assists. Remember Austin McBroom? He's a Billiken now after one year at Central Michigan. As a Chippewa he made the all-freshman team and put up eleven points per game. This'll be a tall task for the Falcons, but if they can play like they did the first fifteen minutes against Wisconsin anything can happen.
Niagara is having a rough start to the year sitting at 1-3. The one win was over Buffalo, so this will be a good barometer to see how the Golden Flashes stack up against the Bulls. There's only one guy you need to know on the Purple Eagles, and that's Antoine Mason. He literally does everything: he plays 39 minutes per game and averages 30 points. None of his teammates average over ten. It's a one-man show, so if Kent can shut down everyone else they should win. Niagara is pretty poor on the defensive end, they're giving up 86 points per game.
Eastern Michigan puts their perfect record on the line against 2-4 Texas-Arlington. The Mavericks lost to Robert Morris, a team the Eagles beat, last time out, so an Eagle win is pretty likely. UTA is giving up 93 points per game on average. I don't think I've ever seen an Eastern Michigan team score 90 points in one game (much less two), but they have a shot today. The Eagles are starting to score in bunches, much of that coming from Karrington Ward's hot hand.
The Matadors of Cal State Northridge come into Mt. Pleasant for the Central Michigan Tournament off of two losses at USC and Fresno State. They did beat Austin Peay in overtime last night though, and the Chips put them away easily. The Matadors are coached by Reggie Theus, the former Sacramento Kings head man. He's got a long way to go to build a program with no history. Stephen Maxwell plays more than 35 minutes a game for the Matadors and scores 18.5 points. Only six guys on the roster get regular playing time, so if the Chips can get them into foul trouble it should be a pretty comfortable win.