The Mid-American Conference doesn’t have much to offer the NCAA tournament this season. This winner of the conference championship game will be the only team dancing this season.
Kent State (22-8) and Akron (22-8) have distanced themselves from the rest of the conference, currently holding a three game lead over the next closest team. Buffalo (17-10) is the next closest team, and has split the season series with both of the conference leaders.
Currently, experts see Kent State winning the MAC and getting a No. 13 seed in the East bracket. This will send the Golden Flashes to face a very talented BYU team. BYU (26-4) has been tested with wins over San Diego State twice, UNLV, and UTEP.
Kent State will face Akron in the last game of the season. The Golden Flashes have an RPI of 49, which is higher than several of the other bubble teams from larger conferences. If Kent State wins against the Zips, but loses in the MAC tournament it still may get an at large bid. This scenario is highly unlikely but not completely out of reach.
Akron doesn’t have the luxury of a decent RPI. The Zips will need to win the conference championship game in order to get an NCAA bid. They can start toward that goal with a win over Kent State on Friday.
Buffalo has shown it can compete with the conference powers this season. The Bulls have also shown that consistency can be a problem during losses to Canisuis (14-16), Miami (13-17), and Central Michigan (14-14). Even if the Bulls start off strong in the conference tournament, their consistency issues and lack of focus will derail them before they get close to an NCAA bid.
The MAC tournament will begin March 6 and continue till the championship game on March 13 at 6 p.m. It looks like that game will face the Zips against the Golden Flashes for the third time this season.
The Zips currently hold a 1-0 season series lead this season going into tomorrow’s game. The winner will become the MAC Champion for the regular season and receive the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.