MACtion was made famous in the fall, but there’s no reason it can’t be equally exciting in March.
The Mid-American Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments start this week, with a pair of Michigan teams looking to add to the madness and punch their tickets to the NCAA Tournament.
Western Michigan‘s women’s basketball team is the No. 7 seed and will take on No. 2 Buffalo Wednesday afternoon. Central Michigan‘s men’s team is the No. 8 seed and will play No. 1 Toledo at 11 a.m. Thursday.
How to watch the MAC Tournament
Both the men’s and women’s MAC tournaments will take place at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. The women’s quarterfinals are Wednesday and the men’s quarterfinals are Thursday, but they will share the court for semifinals Friday and the finals on Saturday.
Winners earn an automatic bid to their respective NCAA Tournament, where MAC teams have a penchant for contributing to March Madness.
MAC Women’s Basketball Schedule
- Quarterfinals (Wednesday on ESPN+): No. 1 Toledo vs. No. 8 Ohio, 11 a.m.; No. 4 Northern Illinois vs. No. 5 Ball State, 30 minutes following Game 1; No. 2 Buffalo vs. No. 7 Western Michigan, 30 minutes following Game 2; No. 3 Akron vs. No. 6 Bowling Green, 30 minutes following Game 3
- Semifinals: 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday, ESPN+
- Final: 11 a.m. Saturday, CBS Sports Network
MAC Men’s Basketball Schedule
- Quarterfinals (Thursday on ESPN+): No. 1 Toledo vs. No. 8 Central Michigan, 11 a.m.; No. 4 Akron vs. No. 5 Buffalo, 30 minutes following Game 1; No. 2 Kent State vs. No. 7 Miami (OH), 30 minutes following Game 2; No. 3 Ohio vs. No. 6 Ball State, 30 minutes following Game 3
- Semifinals: Game 1 at 5 p.m. Friday, Game 2 30 minutes following, both on CBS Sports Network
- Finals: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2
MAC Tournament odds
Toledo is the heavy favorite in the men’s tournament, with nearly even odds at some sportsbooks.
The Rockets went 25-6 on the season with a 17-3 conference record, winning their final five games to secure the top seed in the tournament.
Toledo has not won the MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1980.
Kent State and Ohio follow and enter the tournament on different trajectories. The Golden Flashes won their final 12 games of the regular season to go from .500 overall to the No. 2 seed. Their last loss came Jan. 21 at Buffalo, and since then they have knocked off every team in the conference, including a road win at Toledo.
Defending tournament champion Ohio lost its final three games of the season, falling out of a first-place tie with Toledo. Two of the Bobcats losses (Bowling Green and Northern Illinois) came against teams that didn’t even qualify for the conference tournament.
Central Michigan is a longshot, and enters the tournament at 7-22 (6-12 MAC) and having lost its last three games, and eight of its last nine.
No women’s futures odds
While some sportsbooks have added women’s basketball games to their daily slates to go along with NCAA championship futures, there’s still a lack of conference tournament futures.
If they existed, the odds would certainly favor Toledo, which won a conference record 19 games in league play this season. The Rockets are 25-4 overall, 19-1 in the league and have won 11 straight games heading into the postseason. Their one conference loss came Jan. 26 at home against Ohio.
They sit just outside the Associated Press Top 25, tied for sixth among others receiving votes.
Toledo has won the MAC women’s tournament eight times, most recently in 2017.
Western Michigan enters the postseason at 16-13 overall and 10-10 in MAC play. The Broncos played first-round opponent Buffalo just once this season, losing 71-64 on Feb. 7.