Monday, March 10, 2003

MAC: RedHawks have toughest road


Central Mich. rolling toward NCAA berth

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

A preview of the Mid-American tournament, which begins tonight at five campus sites and continues Thursday with the quarterfinals at Gund Arena in Cleveland.

TEAM TO BEAT

Central Michigan. The West Division-champion Chippewas (21-6, 14-4) have lost just once since January while closing out the regular season with nine wins in their last 10 games. They are the MAC's only 20-win team and earned the No. 1 seed.

DARK HORSE

Akron. Based on their four-game winning streak, which included a victory at Kent State, the Zips (14-13, 9-9) might've been the favorite before losing at home to bottom-seeded Buffalo Saturday.

MOST TO PROVE

Kent State. The Golden Flashes' win at home over a fatigued Ohio team might've gotten them back on track, but the defending champions still have to make observers forget that they lost six of their previous seven games.

TOUGHEST DRAW

Miami. Sure, the RedHawks (13-14, 11-7) ended up with a first-round bye, and they swept Akron, a potential quarterfinal opponent, but they split with Ohio, their other potential foe.

They also were swept by Kent State, the team they'd most likely meet in the semifinals.

Their easiest game might be the finals, if they get there and meet Central Michigan, a team they beat by nine early in the season.

WEAKEST DRAW

Central Michigan. The Chippewas were a perfect 10-0 against the other six teams in their bracket, including two-game sweeps of West Division-runner-up Northern Illinois and preseason division-favorite Ball State.

MOST LIKELY MVP

Chris Kaman, Central Michigan. Miami coach Charlie Coles calls the 7-foot Chippewa junior center the MAC's best pro prospect. He scored 39 points, including 11-of-15 free throws, and grabbed 22 rebounds in Saturday's 86-66 win at Ball State.

PLAYER ON THE SPOT

Brandon Hunter, Ohio. Few teams ask for more from one player than Ohio does from the 6-7 senior. The Withrow product leads the Bobcats in scoring and the nation in rebounding, and he missed just six of his 21 shots in Ohio's last two games.




BENGALS / NFL
James should give Bengals' 'D' a jolt
LeBeau joins Bills as assistant coach

REDS / BASEBALL
This change money in bank
Phillies 3, Reds 2
Kearns to have elbow surgery
Sullivan, Wilson healthy again
Selig isn't in a rush to issue Rose ruling
Reds spring training statistics
Weaver solidifying fifth spot for Yankees
Dessens off to strong start in Arizona

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UC falls to TCU in thriller
Bearcats looking to add victories
Muskies won't sit on their laurels
Smith hearing cheers as Wildcats perfect in SEC
Top 25: Shorthanded 'Nova nearly pulls upset

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
A-10: Musketeers may get third date with UD
C-USA: Marquette going for double
SEC: Kentucky is the team to beat
MAC: RedHawks have toughest road
Big 10: Wisconsin gets top seed for second straight year
Div. II: NKU's women open against Lakers

PREP SPORTS
Hamilton hopes for more magic
Regional opener matches powers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Q&A: Wright hopes to crack Hurricane lineup

GOLF
Hoch leaves Doral in the dark

HOCKEY
Ducks fall in overtime

PLAN YOUR DAY
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