Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
1 Toledo def. 8 Ball State
5 Ohio def. 5 Kent State
6 Bowling Green def. 3 Akron
2 Buffalo def. 7 Miami
1 Toledo def. 5 Ohio
6 Bowling Green def. 2 Buffalo
1 Toledo def. 6 Bowling Green
Even though the Mid-American Conference is distinctly a mid-major, there is one member school that might be able to hang with the big boys if they can survive to March Madness. Toledo has the 14th highest adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom, and has scored 75+ points in all but one of their 19 conference games. In conference play, the Rockets lead the table in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage. They also have MAC Player of the Year Marreon Jackson who averages 17/6/6 on the season. Toledo, if they win the MAC Tournament, will be one of the best mid-major champions and could land as an 11 or 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
As good as Toledo has been this season, the MAC Tournament feels wide open. Seeded sixth, Bowling Green has been the best MAC team away from home going 10-3 in road games this season. The Falcons are third in the NCAA with a 1.006 effective possession ratio. They also average fewer than 10 turnovers per game and create a MAC-high 5.4 extra scoring chances per game. Bowling Green has won four of their last five including road wins over top-seeded Toledo and and first-round opponent Akron. Some sleepers are better described as disruptors but in this conference a March Madness berth is well within Bowling Green’s range.
Matchup to Watch
Toledo vs Ohio
Ohio’s raw shooting numbers don’t quite matchup with Toledo’s, but they do have an edge in effective field goal percentage. Of the five Bobcats who average 10+ points per game, two of them shoot over 50% from the floor. After having five games canceled to start February, Ohio re-entered competition by scoring 90 and 86 in wins over Akron and Eastern Michigan respectively. The Rockets won their only regular season bout with the Bobcats 95-78 knocking down 12 three-pointers. A high-scoring second round matchup could provide Toledo with the energy boost they need to secure their March Madness bid.
Featured Image courtesy of utrockets.com
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