MAC Tournament play begins on March 5th, and if the regular season is any indication, a team from the Eastern Division will earn the automatic bid.
With just two weeks left, Akron holds a two-game lead on Buffalo and Kent State, and the Zips appear to be the early favorites.
MAC Tournament Info
Tournament Site: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH (with First Round games on the home floor of higher seeded teams.)
Tournament Dates and TV Coverage:
- First Round: Monday, March 5th
- Second Round: Wednesday, March 7th at 7:00 and 9:30
- Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 8th at 7:00 and 9:30
- Semifinals: Friday, March 9th at 7:00 and 9:30
- Championship: Saturday, March 10th at 8:00 (ESPN2)
Seeding/Bracket Notes: The top two seeds receive byes to the Semifinals; the third and fourth seeds receive byes to the Quarterfinals.
Since the top two seeds receive byes into the Semifinals, there is still a lot to play for over the last four games of the conference season. As it stands, Akron has the inside track to one of those byes as they look to make a sixth straight appearance in the Championship Game. Buffalo, Kent State, and Ohio all are within a game of each other for second place, so it’s also worth noting the the top four seeds get a bye into the Quarterfinals.
Simply put, the East dominated intra-divisional play this season, going a combined 30-6 against the West. In fact, it’s entirely possible that the top five seeds in the tournament will all come from the East.
Akron appears to be the favorite after winning 11 of their first 12 league games, but they still have games remaining against each of the four teams directly behind them in the standings. The Zips are tough defensively and rely on a balanced attack with nine players averaging at least 16.0 minutes and 5.0 points, led by big man Zeke Marshall with 10.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks.
Buffalo, Kent State, and Ohio will also be forces to be reckoned with in the MAC Tournament. The Bulls have an outstanding frontcourt duo with Javon McCrea (15.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 57.1 FG%) and Mitchell Watt (15.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 52.6 FG%), which make them a really challenging matchup for opposing teams. Justin Greene (13.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) leads five Kent State players who score at least 9.1 points per game, while OU boasts one of the league’s top assist men in D.J. Cooper (13.6 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2.3 spg).
MAC Basketball Tournament History: Champions & MOPs
|Year||MAC Tournament Champion||MAC Tournament Runner-Up||MAC Tournament MVP|
|1980||Toledo||Bowling Green||Jim Swaney, Toledo|
|1981||Ball State||Northern Illinois||Ray McCallum, Ball State|
|1982||Northern Illinois||Ball State||Allen Rayhorn, Northern Illinois|
|1983||Ohio||Bowling Green||John Devereaux, Ohio|
|1984||Miami||Kent State||Chuck Stahl, Miami|
|1985||Ohio||Miami||Ron Harper, Miami|
|1986||Ball State||Miami||Dan Palombizio, Ball State|
|1987||Central Michigan||Kent State||Dan Majerle, Central Michigan|
|1988||Eastern Michigan||Ohio||Grant Long, Eastern Michigan|
|1989||Ball State||Kent State||Billy Butts, Ball State|
|1990||Ball State||Central Michigan||Billy Butts, Ball State|
|1991||Eastern Michigan||Toledo||Marcus Kennedy, Eastern Michigan|
|1992||Miami||Ball State||Bill Gillis, Ball State|
|1993||Ball State||Western Michigan||Steve Payne, Ball State|
|1994||Ohio||Miami||Gary Trent, Ohio|
|1995||Ball State||Eastern Michigan||Steve Payne, Ball State|
|1996||Eastern Michigan||Miami||Brian Tolbert, Eastern Michigan|
|1997||Miami||Eastern Michigan||Devin Davis, Miami|
|1998||Eastern Michigan||Miami||Earl Boykins, Eastern Michigan|
|1999||Kent State||Miami||John Whorton, Kent State|
|2000||Ball State||Miami||Duane Clemes, Ball State|
|2001||Kent State||Miami||Trevor Huffman, Kent State|
|2002||Kent State||Bowling Green||Trevor Huffman, Kent State|
|2003||Central Michigan||Kent State||Chris Kaman, Central Michigan|
|2004||Western Michigan||Kent State||Mike Williams, Western Michigan|
|2005||Ohio||Buffalo||Leon Williams, Ohio|
|2006||Kent State||Toledo||Kevin Warzynski, Kent State|
|2007||Miami||Akron||Tim Pollitz, Miami|
|2008||Kent State||Akron||Haminn Quaintance, Kent State|
|2009||Akron||Buffalo||Nate Linhart, Akron|
|2010||Ohio||Akron||Armon Bassett, Ohio|
|2011||Akron||Kent State||Zeke Marshall, Akron|
Click to see Andy’s complete Championship Week Preview.
Note: We will have a complete preview before the tournament starts and seedings/matchups are known.