Since the rest of Volleyball's matches this season are repeats against East Division opponents, we're going to trim down the previews a bit and lump in the rooting interests. Both matches this weekend are at home, tomorrow's is senior night, and by 9:00 PM tomorrow the Bulls may have a MAC Tournament spot secured.
Bowling Green (6-19, 2-10 MAC)
Friday, 6 November; 5:00 PM
All-time series: Bowling Green leads, 25-7
Last Meeting: Buffalo, 3-1; 3 October 2015
2015 Common Opponents: The MAC (Wins over Akron and Kent)
Live Stats: UB's LiveStats
This was a relatively easy win for the Bulls before their October surge, and it's reasonable to predict another Buffalo victory here. The Falcons did manage a five-set win over Kent State last weekend, but have otherwise presented very little challenge to teams currently in MAC Tournament position.
A win this evening would give UB six conference wins for the second straight year and tie their winningest MAC seasons ever.
Miami (16-9, 8-4 MAC)
Saturday, 7 November; 7:00 PM
All-time series: Miami leads, 24-9
Last Meeting: Miami, 3-0; 2 October 2015
2015 Common Opponents: The MAC
Live Stats: UB's LiveStats
In Miami, Ohio, and Kent State it's a tough end to the year for the Bulls, which makes tonight against Bowling Green critically important.
UB found little success anywhere in their first match against the Redhawks, but are playing better of late of course, and with a pair of wins this weekend would almost certainly clinch a tournament spot regardless of other scores.
Around the MAC
The Bulls got plenty of help last weekend from Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, who each swept Central and Eastern Michigan, pushing the pair below the Bulls. At this moment, UB is sitting seventh in the conference, tied with CMU at 5-7 but owning the head-to-head tiebreaker, and one game up on EMU, who is 4-8 and also loses the tiebreaker to Buffalo.
A single UB win and a pair of Eastern losses this weekend could guarantee a tournament spot before Sunday arrives. I'm less concerned about keeping in front of Central Michigan considering the preseason expectations and start to this season. Just matching the previous high-water marks would be a success.
Eastern and Central already played yesterday, with the Chippewas winning to push the Eagles further away from the eighth seed. They each have one more game this weekend before we become big Ball State fans next weekend when the Cardinals play both to close the regular season.
Western Michigan vs Ball State: Western Michigan. I suppose if you're really ambitious and want to catch the Cardinals, you have an interest in his game. But the Bulls will either need to close 3-1 to BSU's 0-4 or 4-0 to 1-3 to pass the Cardinals.
Ohio vs Central Michigan: Ohio. I'd feel more confident in this one if the Bobcats hadn't suddenly dropped a pair of sweeps, but at home the MAC power should still top the Chippewas.
Kent State vs Eastern Michigan: Kent State. The Golden Flashes have had an up and down MAC season (though not as much as Ball State), and a Kent win combined with a UB win Friday would clinch a tournament berth for the Bulls.
Best Case Scenario: UB wins both to move to 7-7 to clinch a postseason berth without concern for EMU. Better yet, the Chippewas are 6-8 and need to win out and UB to lose out to claim seventh. Ball State loses both to WMU and NIU and only holds sixth via tiebreaker.
Worst Case: UB is 5-9 and drops into eigth, ahead of EMU only by tiebreaker.
Likely: UB goes 1-1, CMU and EMU both lose tomorrow, and UB still sits seventh thanks to a CMU tiebreaker, but has clinched a postseason spot. Ball State goes 1-1 and Buffalo would need everything to go right to pass the Cardinals.