What to watch for in MAC men's basketball this week


Sophomore guard David DiLeo is helped up by teammates after chasing a loose ball on Dec. 29 at McGuirk Arena.

Buffalo and Toledo lead the Mid-American Conference as February and March approaches in the college basketball season. 

Postseason play is on its way. 

Central Michigan will battle Miami (Ohio) at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 in McGuirk Arena, and here’s a look at some other matchups to watch for around the MAC.

Jan. 23, 7 p.m., Ohio at Akron - Why would it matter what happens between the two teams at the bottom of the MAC East standings? Because one of them has to be the winner in a set of standings that are extremely tight outside of UB. The Zips are given the 1.5-point edge to get the win, but with Bobcats senior guard Mike Laster who ranks 10th in the MAC in scoring at 15.9 points per game, it should be a game right down to the wire.

Jan. 23, 7 p.m., UT at Western Michigan -This game is not only large for the MAC West standings with the Broncos trailing the Rockets by two games, but it also features two of the leagues best scorers. UT’s senior forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher and WMU’s senior guard Thomas Wilder are both on NBA Draft boards and Fletcher just recently earned MAC West co-Player of the Week honors by averaging 17.5 points per game and nine boards last week. On the season, Wilder averages 17.5 points per game and Fletcher is one spot ahead of him at 18.2 per.

Jan. 23, 7 p.m., Miami (OH) at CMU - Both of these squads are trailing their side of the conference leaders by three games and a win tonight would propel them in the right direction. It also is a pair of the conferences best two defensive teams. CMU ranks first in the MAC in scoring defense with 69.2 points allowed and Miami is third with 70.2 per. CMU is also the best in the conference in field goal percentage defense (41.5 percent) while the Redhawks are the best in the MAC at defending the 3-point shot (33 percent).

Jan. 27, 7 p.m., Bowling Green at UT - BGSU and UT are two of the best scoring teams in the MAC, with the Rockets at second (79.9 points per game) and the Falcons barely behind them (79.8 points per game) in third. Along with Fletcher, junior guard Jaelan Sanford is a top-10 scorer in the MAC at sixth with 16.5 points per. BGSU’s redshirt freshman Justin Turner is eighth in the conference at 16.2 points per and junior forward Demajeo Wiggins is 20th in scoring at 14 points per while also being second in the league in rebounds with 9.5 boards per games. 

Conference Standings

MAC East

1.   Buffalo (14-5, 6-0 MAC)

2.   Bowling Green (12-7, 3-3) 

      Miami (OH) (10-9, 3-3)

      Kent State (9-10, 3-3)

5.   Ohio (9-9, 2-4)

      Akron (9-9, 2-4)

MAC West

1.   Toledo (13-6, 5-1)

2.   Ball State (12-7, 3-3)

      Western Michigan (11-8, 3-3)

4.   Central Michigan (13-6, 2-4)

      Eastern Michigan (11-8, 2-4)

      Northern Illinois (9-10, 2-4)