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Men's and Women's Basketball Valentine's Weekend Rooting Guide

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I forgot, before tomorrow's games, that Toledo and Kent State were playing today in men's basketball competition. Fortunately for our purposes, there's pretty compelling reasons to root for either team to win in that one, so it's nice that it turned out to be a real good basketball game.

I'll start with the women.

UB: 6-5, 7th in the MAC

Don't be fooled by that line; I'm sticking with my argument that the ladies are in a pretty good place. For one, they have four games remaining against the very bottom of the conference. A sweep of those four teams would guarantee them the same record as last year.

Depending on your personal levels of misanthropy, ten wins may not be acceptable. But their other three games are against Ohio, WMU, and Akron, all of whom they played close in their first matchups. I think UB gets one or two of those.

Anyway, tomorrow's games:

Central Michigan (6-5) at Eastern Michigan (4-6) - EASTERN MICHIGAN

CMU is supposed to be better than this, especially with Crystal Bradford. But as long as they're tied with UB, we want them to be a step below, since they own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Buffalo owns that first tiebreaker over the Eagles.

Ohio (10-1) at Miami (1-10) - MIAMI

This is never happening, and truthfully, that's ok. UB is not catching Ohio short of a near-perfect set of circumstances, so while it doesn't matter in this game, I'm fine with letting the Bobcats absolutely run away with the conference

Bowling Green (2-10) at Ball State (8-3) - BOWLING GREEN

On the flip side, if we're letting Ohio run away, we want to keep the 2-5 teams within range, so Buffalo can catch them for a bye. It's highly unlikely the Falcons pull this off, but that's ok.

Toledo (6-5) at Akron (8-4) - TOLEDO

This is a real tough one. Do you want to keep Akron in range and risk bringing the Rockets up a game, or do you want to make it harder to catch the Zips but narrow the overall field running for that fourth spot? I figure Ohio and one of Western Michigan or Ball State are all but locks for a top-four seed, and I don't think UB jumps both the West Division teams, so they've got the catch Akron.

Northern Illinois (6-5) at Kent State (1-10) - Kent State

Here's a case where we can start to push parts of this middle-conference pack down below the Bulls for good.

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Onto the men:

UB: 6-5

It's a little less positive here than on the women's side, but the men still have an OK chance, but they MUST beat CMU tomorrow AND get the rematch against Akron at an absolute minimum to have any hope of favorable tiebreakers at all.

(Today) Kent State (8-4) at Toledo (8-4) - KENT WON

At first I was figuring let the Rockets run away with this since UB can't catch them, but this could be good for the Bulls if they finish the season with a better tiebreaker situation than they're currently sitting in. You could make an argument either way.

Akron (8-3) at Eastern Michigan (4-7) - EASTERN MICHIGAN

Easy. We need to catch Akron, and we don't really have a hope of anything if EMU catches us at seven losses, anyway.

Ohio (4-7) at Miami (3-8) - MIAMI

In the unlikely event that a tiebreaker gets past head-to-head and has to go all the way to the bottom third of the conference for a result, we want out 2-0 record vs Miami rather than our (at best) 1-1 record vs the Bobcats.

Bowling Green (8-3) at Ball State (2-9) - BALL STATE

We still have both games against he Falcons, so we can in theory catch them with those two and by matching their record in the other five games, but it sure would be nice if we got help from the dregs of the conference.

Northern Illinois (4-7) at Western Michigan (5-6) - NORTHERN ILLINOIS

For the *exact* same reasons as Ohio-Miami, except that it's much more likely that this comes into play here rather than further down the list.