Conference tournament play begins today as First Round games are scheduled in both the Big South and Horizon League. As every conference tournament game could be considered for the Small Conference Game of the Day, the SCGD will be limited to regular season games only. In that regard, we turn today to the Mid-American Conference, and the 7:00 PM Eastern game from Kalamazoo, Michigan featuring the Ball State Cardinals at the Western Michigan Broncos.
The majority of the talk so far this season surrounding the MAC has been about its top two teams. Akron sits atop the East Division and is one win away from clinching the top seed in the conference tournament. Ohio University has only lost twice in league all year, but both losses were at the hands of the Akron Zips. Aside from the solid seasons by these two teams, the third best conference record and leader of the West Division so far this season has been Western Michigan. The Broncos sit at 9-5 in conference so far (18-10 overall), one game ahead of Toledo. However, Toledo is ineligible for the MAC and NCAA tournaments due to an APR ban, meaning that WMU will clinch the top spot in the West and the #3 overall seed in the MAC tournament with a win tonight.
Western Michigan’s opponent tonight is Ball State. The Cardinals enter tonight’s game at 13-14 overall and 6-8 in conference. They did, however, hand WMU one of their losses on the season, winning 65-62 at home back on February 9. Western Michigan is therefore not only looking to wrap up the 3rd seed in the conference tournament tonight and a division title, but also looking for revenge from their prior loss. Ball State and Western Michigan will also be playing their 117th all-time meeting tonight, and amazingly enough the all-time series is tied, 58-58, dating all the way back to the 1931-32 season.