Another day, another way too long amount of time before we see UB play again. It's starting to get to me. Let's just get to Friday, please.
Here's what happened tonight:
Much like Buffalo's senior night against Bowling Green, this one was a different game depending on who was in the post. Eastern Michigan's Raven Lee was able to get to the rim again and again during the time Richaun Holmes was on the bench, and the #5 seed is out.
Don't forget that EMU beat Michigan this year, and they were a hot pick for the top of the MAC even before that. All the same players are there. Five days ago they topped Toledo without ever really letting the Rockets in. Maybe they're peaking at the right time.
Fatigue watch: Karrington Ward, Mike Talley, and Raven Lee all played 37 or more minutes. They scored 63 of the Eagles' 73 points, so that seems to be their recipe for further success. At the same time, EMU plays sloooow; each team had only (roughly) 59 possessions in this one. That will help as they hit a rested Toledo team.
It's a little tougher to think about rooting interests here. If EMU's going to beat Toledo, I'd like them to beat CMU. But no matter what, Buffalo's going to have to play a tough opponent in the final.
This one was ugly. Both offenses struggled at times, the refs struggled, WMU had a terrible day from the line and got no help from David Brown after he lit it up against Ohio.
This was a good win for the Zips, once again on the strength of their three-point shooting, but I didn't think it was a particularly well-played game. Akron shot 41% from beyond the arc (and 31% from inside it!). That's not spectacular, but it's good, and it seems Dambrot knows that's his key to success.
Fatigue Watch: Another slow game, just 59 possessions on each side. Western pulled to 33-32 and then promptly gave up a 9-0 run, so I'm not sure how much urgency the Zips had in the final ten minutes. There wasn't an inordinate number of fouls either, but Akron did look noticeably less sharp than against NIU, who had been playing well coming into the postseason.
I'm now going to call the brackets the 'West Side' and the 'East Side.' What do we want tomorrow?
West Side: Tougher to call. In an ideal world, my main priority is avoiding CMU, who has twice killed UB in the second half, but the way the week is going I feel less and less compelled to look ahead at all. I think it's safe to hope for not this game but the next to be a drag-it-out affair.
East Side: I know we match up better with Kent, but I think I want Akron. By Friday they'll be on their fourth game in five days, all while Buffalo has been waiting. The Zips are more poised to jump out to a big lead on outside shooting should the Bulls come out flat Friday, but I'm willing to take that risk to draw the more fatigued team.
UB's in a pretty good spot either way. If nothing else, here's hoping it's close and the winning team takes their lumps in the process.