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2015 MAC Men's Basketball Tournament: How do the first round results affect Buffalo?

Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Fully eight MAC teams will be eliminated from championship contention even before UB plays on Friday night, but that doesn't mean we're not still interested in the first rounds of the tournament.

Right now, we don't have any real rooting interests. There's no tiebreakers to worry about, and the Bulls control their own destiny, needing just two wins to claim a championship.

And while it's my belief that you've got to play well in March to win in March no matter what, it would kind of be nice to draw a tired team in each game. Thursday, Kent and Toledo will be playing against teams on their third game in four nights, and should any of those pull an upset, CMU or Buffalo would face them on their fourth in five nights.

Alternatively, a team that's too tired to win against a rested #3 or #4 seed can still force them to play hard and wear them out for the automatic semifinalists. Here's what went down tonight in the campus round, along with my thoughts on the Buffalo implications:

Akron Zips 76, Northern Illinois Huskies 52

This wasn't even this close; Akron's lead pushed 40 before Dambrot sent the walk-ons in with seven to play. The Zips built a 33-6 lead to start the game, and never looked back.

On one hand, with the Zips on the same side of the bracket as UB, we don't want them to get white hot and run through everyone without any issue like tonight (Pat Forsythe, working through a toe injury, played less than five minutes), we do want a stronger team to make to Kent so that the Golden Flashes have a tougher road to the semis.

Akron may be that team, and not just for physical fatigue: I'm rooting for Zips-Kent all day for the emotion in that rivalry game. I'm feeling good about either team coming off a big rivalry win only to face a rested, fast, and aggressive UB team.

I just hope WMU provides a tougher test for the Zips.

Western Michigan Broncos 82, Ohio Bobcats 74

Now this was a really good result for UB's hypothetical Friday matchup. Ohio led the Broncos for 30 minutes and forced David Brown to go for a career high to pull out the win. WMU scares me more than any other team on our side, but games like this will make things hard for them to maintain their level of play.

Of course, that's only useful if they get to us. We want whichever of Akron and WMU who win Wednesday to give Kent a real fight on Thursday. Basically, we want more games like this and less like Akron-NIU.

Eastern Michigan Eagles 62, Miami RedHawks 61 (OT)

This game doesn't affect much, because I think Bowling Green's got the best shot of upsetting the byeholders on that side of the bracket, and realistically, it's going to be CMU in the final. But EMU did just top Toledo last Friday.

Bowling Green Falcons 88, Ball State Cardinals 75

I'm very glad Bowling Green is on the other side of the bracket, because it will take them four games to hypothetically get to Buffalo, but I also think they have the strongest chance of any team of upsetting a top-four seed. It's important to remember bye-holders have only been upset twice in this tournament, but the Falcons were set for a likely top-two seed before late collapses/unlucky losses against Kent State and Buffalo. They could get to CMU and put up a fight, and I'd love to see it.


Wednesday's games:

Akron Zips vs Western Michigan Broncos

I'm ok with either winning here. If it's Akron, I'd like for them not to walk over the Broncos and have a bit more of a test before a big game with Kent, lest they get too hot. If it's WMU, I hope that they have enough left in the tank to really take on Kent, and especially wear out Jimmy Hall.

Bowling Green Falcons vs Eastern Michigan Eagles

This game is still two away from anything that can effect Buffalo. I say go Falcons so we can get a Northwest Ohio slugfest on Thursday night.


We'll check in Wednesday night on the newest results.