What to watch for: Challenges ahead for MAC men's basketball leaders


Central Michigan Men's basketball team celebrate after a 3 pointer shot by senior guard Josh Kozinski on Jan. 30 at McGuirk Arena. 

Eight games remain for Mid-American Conference play and Toledo and Buffalo still are in commanding control.

Both the Rockets and Bulls hold three-game leads in the MAC West and East Divisions.

Four teams — Western Michigan, Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Kent State — are all within the three-game mark from the top of the divisions.  

The Central Michigan men’s basketball team has a chance to give the Bulls their second conference loss at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 in McGuirk Arena.

Here is a look at some other games slated this week in the MAC.

7 p.m., Feb. 6, Miami at WMU - Even though Miami is in the MAC East and WMU is in the West, a loss for either team could slim its chances of catching its division leader. The Broncos are a 7.5-point favorite to win and topped the Redhawks on the road earlier this season 67-62. WMU’s junior guard Bryce Moore scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half to help lead the 
Broncos from behind for the victory.

7 p.m., Feb. 6 Bowling Green at BSU - Both of these teams have identical overall and conference records (14-9, 5-5 MAC) and will meet for only this game this season. The Cardinals are favorited by 7.5 points to win at home, where they have posted a 10-1 record. BGSU freshman guard Justin Turner has been the top-freshman-scorer amongst all MAC players this season, ranking No. 9 with 15.3 points per game.

7 p.m., Feb. 6, UB at CMU - While Buffalo has only slipped up once in conference play this season and are six-point favorites, the Chippewas are coming off their first week of winning both games in MAC play. This game features two of the leagues best scoring offenses, with UB (83.3 points per game) leading the MAC and CMU (78.7 per) coming in third. The Chippewas and Bulls are neck-and-neck in scoring margin, with CMU (plus-7.7) being first in the MAC and UB (plus-7.3) in second.

6 p.m., Feb. 9, UT at Miami - The Rockets are tied for the best road record (7-4) in the MAC, but Miami has won eight of its 13 games at home this season. This will be the only meeting between the two programs this season. Miami is last in the conference in scoring at 71.9 points per game while UT is second at 80.2 per, but the Redhawks counter the Rockets offense with the leagues No. 2 scoring defense, allowing just 68.8 points per game.

Conference Standings 

MAC East

1. Buffalo (17-6, 9-1)

2. Miami (Ohio) (13-10, 6-4)

    Kent State (12-11, 6-4)

4. Bowling Green (14-9, 5-5)

5. Akron (10-12, 3-7)

6. Ohio (9-13, 2-8)

MAC West

1. Toledo (16-7, 8-2)

2. Ball State (14-9, 5-5)

    Western Michigan (13-10, 5-5)

4. Eastern Michigan (13-10, 4-6)

    Central Michigan (15-8, 4-6)

6. Northern Illinois (10-13, 3-7)