Four games are on the schedule before Saturday, with the big one being an ACC Coastal showdown between #23 Miami (7-3, 4-2) and Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3). The Hurricanes, currently in the driver's seat in the division, need a win to keep that status since North Carolina lurks just one game behind in the standings. And with the Heels due to take on NC State and Duke to end the season, a loss here could essentially hand the division to a Carolina team that has already defeated Miami and Georgia Tech.
A rivalry that in recent years switched from the Big East to the ACC takes center stage on Thursday night, as Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC Coastal) visits Miami (6-3, 3-2) at 7:30 PM on ESPN. The winner gets a leg up in the unpredictable Coastal Division race, while the loser would be in serious trouble. Although Miami has a 16-9 advantage in the series, the Hokies have the upper hand of late winning nine of the last thirteen meetings. A star was born last Thursday night for Virginia Tech, with redshirt freshman Darren Lewis rushing for 253 yards in their win over Maryland.
I'm not going to even get into my opinion as to teams playing on Election Day (I sure hope the Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo players get to the polls), but there is football to be played on both Tuesday and Wednesday with all three games being MAC matchups. Could Ball State be a possible upset victim on Wednesday night? Who will take control of a muddled MAC East race after these two days? Here's a preview of the three games on the slate for Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Tuesday: Miami-Ohio (2-6, 1-3) @ Buffalo (4-4, 2-2) 7:30 PM EST on ESPN2
Two games on the schedule for tonight, with both being conference affairs that the road team could definitely use to stay in their respective divisional races. Houston, despite a slow start to the season, may be the only thing standing between Tulsa and a cakewalk to the Conference USA title game. And in the wide-open MAC East, Buffalo could cement themselves as one of the favorites while dealing Ohio a devastating blow with a win in Athens. At the least, it'll give people a commercial break diversion from opening night in the NBA.
Here’s a quick preview of the ESPNU O’Reilly Bracket Busters games this weekend that will not be shown on television involving northeast teams. In most cases, the organizers of this event have done a better job of limiting the travel for non-television games, with the exception of UC Davis visiting Loyola (MD) among games involving northeast leagues. Bracket Busters, originally put together to provide schools in non-BCS leagues one last opportunity to add to their resume, now involves some 100 schools from sixteen conferences.
Niagara @ Appalachian State (Saturday, 1 PM)
The Report Card
The MAC had four teams in action yesterday and last night with all but one team winning. Kent State picked up a good win at home over Detroit. Marquette handed it to Eastern Michigan. Toledo took care of Middle Tennessee State in overtime, and Buffalo came away with an impressive win over Miami (FL).
Kent State had a balanced attack lead them to a 61-48 victory over the University of Detroit Mercy at the MAC Center yesterday afternoon. Kent State held Detroit to just 38 percent shooting and withstood a hot start from behind the 3-point line from the Titans. Detroit hit its first three triples, but then proceeded to only shoot three-of-16 the rest of the game. Freshmen guard Rodriguez Sherman led Kent State with 14 points in his first colleigate start. Due to many suspensions of players he was thrust into the lineup and did not commit one turnover in 31 minutes of play. Senior Armon Gates scored 12 points and brought down a career high 8 rebounds. He is known more for his 3 point shooting ability but in this game he was only able to make two three pointers. Kent State returns to action on Tuesday when they host Temple University.
The MAC had three teams in action and while they went 2-1 none of the two teams that won had very impressive wins. Toledo was in action against Iowa in the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam Tournament, Miami won big over Florida A&M, and Buffalo won a close one at home over Cleveland State. On to the recaps:
Toledo fought hard against Iowa but came up short 78-65 in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament. The seniors held the Rocket’s in this game though. Senior guard Justin Ingram paced the Rockets with 22 points, 4 steals and 4 rebounds and was a point shy of his career scoring high. Senior forward Keonta Howell chipped in 16 points and six rebounds and senior forward Florentino Valencia scored 12 points and came down with a team high 8 rebounds. Freshmen forward Tyler Smith scored a game high 28 points for the Hawkeyes. The Rockets were able to shut down Iowa’s leading scorer, Adam Haluska, limiting him to only 10 points. However, that opened the door for Smith’s big night. Iowa also destroyed Toledo on the boards with a 51-30 rebounding edge. Toledo will face Middle Tennessee State tonight as the Blue Raiders dropped their game last night against 10th ranked Alabama.
Last night was not a good chance for the MAC’s chances of having more than one team in the Big Dance come March. Every single MAC team in action lost last night along with the team that is supposed to carry the league, Akron. When your best team is losing to Arkansas Little-Rock with a chance to play Texas Tech on national television looming, you have the feeling that this could be a long year. Last night for some reason was upset special all around the country with Boston College losing to Vermont at home, Notre Dame losing to Butler at home and Indiana almost losing to Layfeytte in the preseason NIT. Akron shot 51 percent from the floor but could not get rebounds when it mattered the most. The Trojans outscored the Zips 21-11 on second-chance points and also outrebounded them 36-24. That just goes to show that you can’t just win games with talent, you have to actually go out there and perform and Akron didn’t do that last night. They’ll have another chance tonight to pick up what appears to be an easy W over Gardner-Webb at 7 PM tonight.