CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Less than a week before the Mid-American Conference Tournament and as usual, not everything is settled. Yes Akron, the No. 1 team in the league, lost to last-place Miami on Tuesday night, 79-75.
That game had no real impact on the standings. But it did show there is no true favorite to win the MAC Tournament, despite what the computers might think.
That game was just one of several strange happenings around the league. It turned on a technical foul by a senior, Kwan Cheatham, for jawing with the officials after his obvious fourth foul. Up 10 with six minutes to play, the RedHawks quickly trimmed the lead to four and game on.
Strange but true: First, all MAC road teams won Tuesday, and this was senior night at every stop. The big impact game was Buffalo over Ohio University, 83-79. That made for a five-way tie for second place heading into Friday's final conference games.
With Akron locked as the No. 1 seed, that means -- if the tie holds up after Friday's games -- three of the five teams will earn seeds 2-3-4 to next week's MAC Tournament and the automatic byes to Thursday's quarterfinals at The Q that go with it. The remaining two of the five teams will have to play first-round tournament games next Monday.
If any of the five teams lose, there are a myriad of seed possibilities.
Just as interesting, all five of the teams tied for second -- OU, Buffalo, Ball State, Western Michigan and Kent State -- play at home for their senior nights. Of those five, only Kent plays a team above .500 in MAC play, and that's first-place Akron (23-7, 13-4).
Sink or swim: The Golden Flashes (18-12, 10-7) have been swimming against the tide for three weeks now, easily facing the toughest slate in the league during that stretch (Akron, Buffalo, OU, Bowling Green and now Akron again). So far they have won five straight. Yet even should Kent win a second straight game over Akron, there is no guarantee it will get one of the four byes.
It's the MAC: While some might consider Miami over Akron a fluke, understand the RedHawks only lost to Akron by four earlier this season at Miami, 74-70. At the same time, Miami (11-19, 4-13) came into the game losers of four straight, the last three by margins of 13, 17 and 16 points.
"The lid came off,'' Miami coach John Cooper said of Miami's 55.1 percent shooting for the game, including 8-of-17 on 3-pointers.
The Zips have now lost three of their last four games, including two straight at home, and two vs. sub .500 MAC teams. Suddenly, Akron does not look like the MAC Tournament favorite. That would be Western Michigan.
Hold your horses: Yes, the Broncos (14-15, 10-7) are rolling. They have won seven straight, six by eight points or more, four by double digits and the last two vs. Ball State and Northern Illinois by 25 and 14 points. The catalyst is 6-3 junior point guard Thomas Wilder averaging 19.2 points a game on the season.
The Eagles are flying: And if not them, then Eastern Michigan (15-15, 7-10). One of the preseason conference favorites snapped out of a seven-game skid last week and has since taken down Northern Illinois and Central Michigan by margins of 16 and 28 points. In its 109-81 win Tuesday, senior guard Raven Lee looked the nation's leading scorer, Marcus Keene, in the eye and Keene blinked.
Lee scored 50 points behind 10 3-pointers, Keene had 21 (1-of-8 on 3-pointers).
And there is still one more game to go before anything is settled.
Miami at Ohio University, 6:30 p.m., CBSSports Net
Bowling Green at Buffalo, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Central Michigan at Western Michigan, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Northern Illinois at Ball State, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Toledo at Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Akron at Kent State, 9 p.m., ESPN2
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