CMU men and WMU women form 8-team pitches

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Michigan schools will have sparse representation at next week’s Mid-American Conference basketball tournaments at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.

Under the format adopted by the conference last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, only the top eight ranked teams will travel to the shores of Lake Erie for the women’s tournament, which begins Wednesday, and the men’s tournament, which kicks off. Thursday.

Men from central Michigan? You’re in the game, despite going 6-12 in conference and 7-22 overall. Eastern Michigan men and West Michigan men? Sorry, Eagles and Broncos fans, you’ll be out.

Still, it’s a step up from last season, in which all three Michigan men’s programs failed to qualify.

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On the women’s side, Western Michigan will be the only school in Michigan directed to Cleveland. The Broncos secured a spot halfway through their game against Toledo (which had already clinched the No. 1 seed) when the Ohio Women lost to Kent State. However, WMU failed to disrupt the Rockets and will be the No. 7 seed, having finished sixth in the standings. (Bowling Green won the three-team tiebreaker and WMU edged Kent State in a two-team tie.) The Broncos face No. 2-seeded Buffalo at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

WMU lost its only game to the Bulls this season, falling 71-64 on the road on Feb. 7, in a game rescheduled for mid-January. Reilly Jacobson and Lauren Ross each scored 17 points to lead the Broncos, but Buffalo’s Georgia Woolley, Dyaisha Fair and Summer Hemphill combined for 53 points.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, EMU lost to Ball State to fall to 7-20 and 4-16 in MAC; CMU, last year’s tournament champion, was hit by Northern Illinois in the third quarter to finish 4-25 and 2-18 in the league. The arrival ends a streak of four appearances in NCAA tournaments for the Chips.

The EMU men dropped their regular season finale against Miami, Ohio on Friday night to fall to 5-15 in conference and 10-21 overall in coach Stan Heath’s first season at his alma mater. The .322 winning percentage is the school’s worst since the 2010-11 season, the last under Charles Ramsey as coach.

The WMU men also lost Friday, 64-63, to Ball State when Lamar Norman’s 3-point attempt with a second left went awry. The loss dropped the Broncos to 8-23 overall and 4-16 in conference.

The Eagles and Broncos finished 11th and 12th respectively in the 12-team conference.

But CMU, led by first-year head coach Tony Barbee, remains the No. 8 seed in Cleveland. The Chips’ payoff: A matchup with No. 1 seed Toledo, who won Friday night to improve to 25-6, 17-3 in conference. CMU has lost both games to the Rockets this season, although the most recent, Feb. 19 in Toledo, was just two points.

The Chips will get their chance for revenge at 11 a.m. Thursday (online only via ESPN+); if they upset Toledo, they will play in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday, airing on CBS Sports Network. The men’s final is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on March 12 on ESPN2.

The CMU men haven’t won the MAC tournament since 2003, when future NBA lottery pick Chris Kaman prowled the boards at Mount Pleasant. It was, oddly enough, the last time the WMU Women won the MAC, as the 4th seed led by Casey Rost.

Here’s how the parentheses break down:

2022 MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Schedule

All games at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.

Thursday: quarter-finals

Game 1: No. 1 Toledo (25-6, 17-3 MAC) vs. No. 8 Central Michigan 7-22, 6-12, 11 a.m.

Game 2: No. 4 Akron (21-9, 14-6) vs. No. 5 Buffalo (19-10, 13-6), around 1:30 p.m.

Game 3: No. 2 Kent State (21-9, 16-4) vs. No. 7 Miami (Ohio) (14-17. 8-12), around 4 p.m.

Game 4: No. 3 Ohio (23-8, 14-6) against No. 6 Ball State (14-16, 9-10), around 6:30 p.m.

Friday: Semi-finals

Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m., CBS Sports Network.

Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, circa 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network.

Saturday: Final

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2.

2022 MAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Schedule

All games at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, streamed on ESPN+ (online only) unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday: quarter-finals

Game 1: No. 1 Toledo (24-4, 18-1 MAC) vs. No. 8 Ken State (18-11, 10-10), 11 a.m.

Game 2: No. 4 Ball State (18-11, 11-8) vs. No. 5 Northern Illinois (14-14, 11-9), at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Game 3: No. 2 Buffalo (22-8, 16-4) vs. No. 7 Western Michigan (16-13, 10-10), around 4 p.m.

Game 4: No. 3 Akron (16-10, 13-7) against No. 6 Bowling Green (15-14, 10-10), around 6:30 p.m.

Friday: Semi-finals

Game 5: Winner of Match 1 vs Winner of Match 2, 10:00 a.m.,

Game 6: Game 3 winner versus Game 4 winner, around 12:30 p.m.

Saturday: Final

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 11 a.m., CBS Sports Network.

Contact Ryan Ford at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @theford.

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