CLEVELAND – With four quarterfinals games today I am just going to get the highlights of the games and try to give fans a flavor for what is going.
Game One: WMU vs EMU
Led by David Kool’s 24 points No. 2 seed Western Michigan (20-11) beat No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan (14-17). In a game that Eastern Michigan never led, they did make it interesting when at the 10:34 mark they tied the game at 34-34 when Jarrad Axon made two foul shots, but that was a fleeting moment of joy as the Broncos closed it out to end Eastern Michigan’s season.
Toledo has been on a run lately and they get arguably their toughest test this week as they travel to Athens, Ohio to meet up with the Ohio Bobcats. These two teams are seemingly going in different directions right now. Toledo is currently undefeated in MAC play and is looking like a lock to get the first round bye in the MAC tournament. Ohio plays well at home but is another team all together when it goes on the road. The good news for Ohio is this game is on the road.
First of all before getting any further it is important to look at two things. First of all, Toledo plays in the very watered down MAC West division. It isn’t hard to go undefeated when your opponents are the directional Michigan schools and Northern Illinois. However, Toledo has shown some strength when they went on the road and beat Buffalo in New York. They just got done taking care of Miami at home this weekend as well. Ohio has been playing very well so far this year at home and that’s what really makes this game so interesting.
The last chance for a possible at-large bid for any team not to win the MAC championship all but vanished Wednesday night when the Ohio Bobcats surrendered a 14 point, second-half lead to Marshall University. The Bobcats lost 70-60 and head into conference play at 9-4. The Bobcats had probably the best chance to get an at-large bid, should they play well in the conference portion of their schedule. Well they theorhetically could still end up with an at-large bid, the loss to Marshall sure didn’t help anything.
The Bobcats were on a roll of a 3-game win streak which included a neutral court win over Cincinnati last Saturday night.
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 Bobcats' current 2007 recruiting class includes Tommy Freeman (Muncie, Ind.), Zach Nagtzaam (Ayr, Ontario), Maurice Pearson (Silver Springs, Md.) and DeVaugh Washington (Virginia Beach, Va.).
Freeman has helped lead Muncie Central High School to the Indiana state title game in each of the past two seasons. A 6-5, 185-pound guard, Freeman knocked down three-pointers at a 45-percent rate as a junior and averaged 10.3 points. Playing guard and forward, Freeman led Central with five rebounds per game and drew a team-best 26 charges.
Nagtzaam, a native of Ayr, Ontario, will become the second player of foreign descent on the Bobcat roster next year. As a 6-11, 235-pound center, Nagtzaam averaged 20 points and nine rebounds last year to lead Southwood Secondary School to a 33-12 record. He also played on the Ontario provincial team that took home the national championship at the Canadian Summer Games and is a two-year member of the Canadian Junior National Team. Nagtzaam was one of 20 players chosen to participate in this past summer's Nike All-Canada Camp.
Akron and Toledo voted favorites by MAC Media.
The Ohio Bobcats are looking to bounce back after a tough, underachieving year last year. A lot of the team’s problems from last year, however, seemed to be answered as they started practice on Saturday. Last year the biggest problem was chemistry. A key figure to the chemistry imbalance was point guard Jeremy Fears. Fortunately for the Bobcats, Fears is gone and not too many people are worried he left the program. This year’s Bobcat team probably won’t make any “It” teams but make no mistake, they have what it takes to make the Big Dance. With six seniors and a preseason All-MAC junior, this team has the experience and talent to go a long way.