The Toledo Rockets won the regular season title, but Kent State, Akron, and Ohio each have a legitimate chance to win the MAC tourney.
The Mid-American Conference offers a media guide and a Printable bracket for download.
Odds to Win the MAC Tournament and DraftKings Betting Promotion
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2023 MAC Tournament Preview
The 2023 MAC Tournament should be a terrific event, with the first rounds broadcast on ESPN+. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the Friday semifinal contest with Saturday’s final on ESPN2.
We’ll be using advanced statistics from Kenneth Pomeroy.
Toledo Rockets 25-6 (16-2)
Toledo has the longest active winning streak in D1 basketball, and they are the No.1 seed but not the betting favorite to take down the MAC. They open the event with a Thursday matchup with the Miami (OH) Redhawks, a team they’ve defeated twice with a +21 point differential.
RayJ Dennis leads Toledo in scoring and assists–Sentric Millner Jr has had some big games down the stretch for a Rockets team ranked 1st in nearly every offensive category. Toledo struggles on the offensive glass and doesn’t defend well inside or outside the arc.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: Toledo was 2-2 on neutral courts. The Rockets were 2-2 ATS, and the Over was 4-0.
Kent State Golden Flashes 25-6 (15-3)
The Golden Flashes have won seven of their last eight and are the odds-on favorite to win the MAC tournament. They face the Northern Illinois Huskies in the 1st round – NIU defeated Kent State by 10 points in their only meeting this season.
WHAT. A. GAME. ⚡️⚡️⚡️
— #MACtion (@MACSports) March 4, 2023
Sincere Carry leads the team in scoring and assists and scorched Akron for 35 points in Friday night’s OT victory over the Zips. The Golden Flashes have the best defense in the conference and lead in many defensive categories but are below-average shooters from inside and outside the three-point circle.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: Kent State hasn’t played a neutral court game this season but was 9-6 as the away team with a 7-7 ATS mark, and the Over was 2-13.
Akron Zips 21-10 (13-5)
The Zips have won three of their last five and begin their chase for the title against the Buffalo Bulls. Akron dominated Buffalo during the regular season, winning both meetings by a 37-point margin.
— Akron Zips MBB (@ZipsMBB) March 4, 2023
Xavier Castenada leads Akron in scoring and assists but has had a pair of bad away games over the past five contests. The Zips are 2nd in many offensive and defensive categories but don’t get to the charity stripe or hit the offensive glass very well.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: Akron was 1-3 on a neutral court this season–the Zips were 1-3 ATS, and the Over was 0-4.
Ball State Cardinals 20-11 (12-7)
Ball State has lost three consecutive games and four of their last five and faces the Ohio Bobcats Thursday night. The Cardinals lost to the Bobcats by five points in their only meeting this season.
— Ball State Men's Basketball (@BallStateMBB) March 4, 2023
Jarron Coleman leads the Cardinals in scoring, assists, and steals, but the junior guard has struggled over his last two games. Ball State allows the fewest offensive caroms and lowest two-point field goal percentage in the conference–the Cardinals allow a conference-worst three-point field goal percentage and 11th at forcing turnovers.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: The Cardinals were 2-2 on a neutral court–the Over was 2-2, and they covered the spread twice over their four neutral court matchups.
Ohio Bobcats 18-13 (9-9)
Ohio has won three of its last five and has an excellent 1st-round clash with Ball State–the Bobcats defeated the Cardinals by five points at home in their only meeting this season.
AJ BROWN IS ON 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/VrR3OvTaVM
— Ohio Men’s Basketball (@OhioMBasketball) March 4, 2023
Dwight Wilson II is the Bobcats leading scorer and tops Ohio in caroms. The Bobcats are 2nd in shooting from downtown and 1st in opponents’ offensive rebound and two-point shooting percentage but last in blocked shot percentage and 11th in free-throw attempts.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: Ohio hasn’t played on a neutral court in 2023 but had a 4-11 away record. The Bobcats were 7-8 ATS and 11-4 to the Over.
Northern Illinois Huskies 13-18 (9-9)
The Huskies have lost three of their last five and drew the Golden Flashes in the opening round. NIU knocked off KSU by 10 at home earlier this season but will likely be the underdog Thursday.
— NIU Men's Basketball (@GoHuskiesMBB) March 4, 2023
Losing leading scorer Keshawn Williams in early January hurt the Huskies–David Coit leads the team in scoring but scored just seven in his last game. NIU is an excellent defensive unit ranked 2nd in forced turnovers and 3rd in many defensive categories. The Huskies are 11th in offensive rebounding and last in the conference in free-throw percentage.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: The Huskies were 1-1 on a neutral court this season–NIU was 1-1 ATS, and the Over was 2-0.
Buffalo Bulls 15-16 (9-9)
Buffalo is riding a two-game winning streak and has won three of its last five. They drew Akron as their 1st-round opponent–the Zips dominated the Bulls by a +37 point margin during the regular season, and Buffalo will likely be a considerable underdog Thursday.
Zid Powell with the steal and the SLAM pic.twitter.com/i2Ldik6e2v
— UB Men's Basketball (@UBmenshoops) March 4, 2023
Curtis James leads Buffalo in scoring–the sophomore guard shot 4-7 from downtown in Tuesday night’s away victory over NIU. The Bulls dominated the offensive glass and were second in swipes but were last in the MAC at getting to the charity stripe with the 10th-highest turnover rate.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: Buffalo was 1-3 on a neutral court this season–the Bulls were 2-2 ATS, and the Over was 1-3.
Miami (OH) Redhawks 12-19 (6-12)
Buffalo snapped the Redhawks’ four-game winning streak, and they get to play top-seed Toledo in the 1st round. They’ve lost to the Rockets twice this season by a -21 point differential.
Mekhi Lairy answers the three pointer with an and one!!
— Miami Men’s Basketball (@MiamiOH_BBall) March 4, 2023
Mekhi Larry is the Redhawks leading scorer and playmaker but scored just 11 in the Redhawks’ away loss to Buffalo. Miami is the top shooting two-point team and 2nd in opponent effective field goal percentage but 11th in fouls resulting in free-throws and 10th in steal percentage.
Phil’s Betting Nugget: Miami hasn’t played a neutral court game this season but was 3-9 SU on the road. The Redhawks were 6-5-1 ATS and 6-6 to the Over.
Phil’s Best Bet for the MAC Tournament
The winner of this event will likely be Toledo, Kent State, and Akron, and my best bet is for Kent State +150 to win this event.
Toledo has won 15-straight and will likely get an at-large berth and direct entry into the NCAA Tournament, and they might be more interested in entering the Big dance healthy than winning the MAc tourney.
The likely semi-final between Kent State-Akron should be a war, but Kent State should beat Akron Friday night. The teams held serve at home over their two games–Castaneda is an excellent scorer at home, but he struggles to find his shot away from Akron.
Carry has been the better of the two this season and will get the best of Castaneda Friday. Kent State is a more complete team than the Zips roster and wins what should be a physical game between two teams who don’t like each other.
Kent State defeated Toledo by 12 in their only meeting this season, and they will beat the Rockets again if Toledo gets this far. The Golden Flashes play the best defense in the MAC and is a bad matchup for the Rockets.
Phil’s Best Bet: Kent State +150