Akron is the favorite after winning 23 games last year, but just about everyone in the dominant East Division has a chance to make some noise.
CLEVELAND - Akron was predicted to finish first in the Mid-American Conference East Division in a poll of the league's media, the conference office announced on Oct 28.
Central Michigan was predicted to win the West Division, amassing 113 points and 10 first-place votes. Northern Illinois was picked to finish second with 102 points, while Eastern Michigan was forecast to finish third with 94 points. Ball State, Western Michigan and Toledo were picked to finish fourth, fifth and sixth in the West Division, respectively.
Thursday night delivers an ACC showdown that could very well be repeated in December. Clemson (1-0) visits Atlanta to take on #15 Georgia Tech (1-0) (7:30 PM on ESPN), and it's fitting that a Yellow Jacket team that rarely gets the national spotlight plays on national television...opposite the NFL season opener. Jonathan Dwyer and company made short work of Jacksonville State last Saturday, but they'll face a defense some think may be the best in the ACC. A stat to watch tonight: turnovers, which played a significant role in last year's meeting.
2009 FirstEnergy MAC Men's Basketball Tournament
Tuesday, March 10 - First Round
No. 7 Central Michigan vs. No. 10 Eastern Michigan, Noon
No. 6 Kent State vs. No. 11 Northern Illinois, 2 p.m.*
No. 8 Western Michigan vs. No. 9 Ohio, 4 p.m.*
No. 5 Akron vs. No. 12 Toledo, 6 p.m.*
Thursday, March 12 - Quarters
No. 2 Ball State vs. No. 7/No. 10 Winner, Noon (FS Ohio)
No. 3 Buffalo vs. No. 6/No.11 Winner, 2:30 p.m.* (FS Ohio)
It wasn't pretty unless you liked defense but it broke Wright State's longest losing streak to start a season since joining the ranks of Division I just 21 years ago.
As for Toledo (2-7) it was another dent in first year coach Gene Cross' rebuilding job.
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.