“I set a new personal best for the number of Mid-American Conference basketball games watched in a single day on Saturday. First, it was Miami (Ohio)-Kent State on Fox Sports. Then, it was the Webcast of Ohio-Buffalo. UA-Bowling Green on ESPNU capped off the night.””
I set a new personal best for the number of Mid-American Conference basketball games watched in a single day on Saturday.
First, it was Miami (Ohio)-Kent State on Fox Sports. Then, it was the Webcast of Ohio-Buffalo. UA-Bowling Green on ESPNU capped off the night.
What did I learn from all that MAC madness?
I reconfirmed my original belief that the MAC East is wide open this year. Not one of the teams appeared to be significantly better than the rest. All three games were tight defensive battles that came down to the final minutes and saw offensive spurts by both teams.
Miami’s Michael Bramos and Ohio’s Jerome Tillman were productive in leading their teams, but neither appeared (at least that day) to be as dominate as some of the conference’s past stars.
All this should give Zips’ fans reason for a renewed sense of hope regarding the outlook for the rest of the season. UA struggled immensely to score points in their first three conference games – two of which were on the road – and they were a play or two away in each from winning all three.
UA will host Kest State on Saturday before playing six consecutive games against MAC West teams. In the second round of divisional play, the Zips will play three games at Rhodes Arena, and one of its two road games will come at KSU’s M.A.C. Center.
Looking at the team’s schedule, this means that Zips’ fans will easily be able to see UA’s final three games before it heads to Cleveland for the MAC Tournament.
The MAC East crown is almost never decided until the final week of the season, which means the abundance of home games could give the Zips a decided advantage.
Even if UA falls out of title contention early, the team will still be fighting for the best tournament seed possible.
During his post-game news conference after UA lost to Buffalo, head coach Keith Dambrot remarked that his team has started to lose its edge while playing at Rhodes Arena.
In this building, we have kind of lost our edge, Dambrot said. We have not been as commanding, just in total control like we’ve been.
While Dambrot was referring to the need for his team to improve its mental toughness and to learn how to finish games, the poor student turnout at the game didn’t help the cause.
There is no question that this year’s team is not as good right now as it has been in recent years, or as Dambrot says, Our margin of error is much smaller than it’s ever been.
But, that shouldn’t deter anyone from attending games. The team’s youth means that the team’s fans can have an even greater impact than ever before by energizing the Zips and rattling their opponents.
Student turnout is traditionally very good whenever Kent comes to town. I expect that to be no different Saturday.
Other than bragging rights, though, the game against the Golden Flashes is no more important than those against the Bulls, Bobcats, Falcons or RedHawks.
So, do yourself and the team a favor and make attending Saturday’s game the start of a trend, rather than a one-time occurrence.
Considering the competitiveness of the league and how all the teams match up this year, you likely won’t be disappointed.