The MAC Conference tournament gets underway today as 11 teams will vie for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The top two seeds, Akron and Ohio, received byes to the semifinals thanks to their performance in the regular season conference race.
All isn’t rosy for #1 seed Akron. The Zips will be without Alex Abreu after the starting point guard was arrested on Thursday on drug charges. He was suspended and won’t be available for the MAC tournament, which could cost Akron the league’s automatic bid and a place in the NCAA tournament considering the MAC hasn’t placed multiple teams in the Field of 68 since 1999. Abreu was averaging 10.3 points and 6.0 assists before his arrest. Akron lost its regular-season finale without him at home to a Kent State team it had previously beaten on the road.
Ohio is now the favorite thanks to the Abreu arrest. Led by D.J Coper, Ohio went 23-8 on the season and 14-2 in the conference. Both losses were to Akron, giving some hope to the Zips that they can overcome Abreu’s loss.
First round games will be on the higher seed’s home sites, with the rest of the tournament moving to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland starting on March 14th. The Championship game will take place on Saturday with an expected 6:30 tip-off, shown nationally on ESPN2.
Mid-American Conference Tournament Odds
Kent State +650
Western Michigan +1200
Bowling Green +5000
Eastern Michigan +20000
Ball State +20000
Miami Ohio +30000
Central Michigan +50000
Northern Illinois +100000
First Round odds:
7:00 PM ET – No. 9 Central Michigan +8 at No. 8 Buffalo
7:00 PM ET – No. 10 Northern Illinois +8 at No. 7 Eastern Michigan
7:00 PM ET – No. 11 Miami (Ohio) +7 at. No. 6 Bowling Green