Tag Archives: Mid-American Conference

Mid-American Conference Postpones all Fall Sports

The Mid-American conference and its three Michigan member schools (Central, Eastern & Western) have announced that fall sports will be cancelled this fall and rescheduled to the spring.

The move comes just days after it was announced that Western University would maintain its lucrative matchup with Notre Dame. However, with most member schools losing their Power 5 contests and budget constraints put on programs playing games without fans, the MAC decided it would be best to postpone and hope for better opportunities to play in the spring.

While larger conferences benefit from tv deals, larger brand sponsorships, apparel sales, etc. the Mid-American conference, and football specifically, require a combination of Power 5 windfalls and fans in the stands to recoup costs of running programs.

We will provide updates as we become aware of any developing details. We now wait to see if this creates a cascade into other conferences and programs or if Notre Dame will have time to find a new opponent without casting another wave into schedules across the country.

Western Michigan Football Maintains Game at Notre Dame

UPDATE: All Mid-American Conference fall athletics have been postponed to spring and WMU’s game versus Notre Dame has been canceled. – Aug. 8, 2020

Notre Dame agreed to terms with the ACC to compete in conference play this season, but will maintain its non-conference game with the visiting Broncos of Western Michigan University. The game is set to be played on September 19 and will generate much needed funds for the Mid-American Conference squad and their athletic department.

The Broncos will be looking to play spoiler to the College Football Playoff hopeful, Fighting Irish, as they rake in the spoils of the marquee matchup of their schedule to the tune of 1.175 million dollars.

The game will provide WMU with funds sure to be in short supply in the 2020-2021 athletic calendar and an even more profitable marketing stage for the university. The Fighting Irish are sure to make the benefits of the matchup a tough pill to swallow between the uprights, as they return a promising Heisman candidate in senior quarterback, Ian Book.

Notre Dame (11-2 in 2019) opens their season against Duke University (5-7 in 2019) and Western Michigan (7-6 in 2019) looks to take a big first step in their Week 2 matchup against Cincinnati (11-3 in 2019) after losing two separate opponents in their Week 1 slot from conference cancellations.

WMU Upsets NIU with Jared Printy Three Pointer in Final Seconds

The Broncos jumped out to a comfortable lead that got as high as twelve points in the first half and eighteen points in the second. The hot start was crucial against the visiting Northern Illinois Huskies who came into the game boasting a 17-11 (10-5) record, while Western Michigan 11-17 (5-10) at tipoff has struggled to gain prolonged momentum throughout Mid-American Conference play.

Western Michigan carried a 32-24 lead into the half thanks to a couple familiar faces: Michael Flowers and Brandon Johnson. The pair each tallied 20-points on Saturday afternoon and gave the Broncos a necessary offensive duo to compete with NIU’s prolific offense. NIU standout, Eugene German, did not play in the first half and proved to be a difference maker in the second. German has been suspended twice this season and it has been clear that the Huskies are a different team without him in the lineup.

The big first half with a German-less NIU was crucial for WMU and proved to be increasingly important as NIU closed things in the second half. WMU was not done extending their lead despite German entering the game, however, as teams took the court after the break and pushed the game as far apart as 18 points with only 8:48 left in the game. The run was due in large part to the Broncos ability to apply firm defensive pressure that kept NIU’s offensive efficiency uncharacteristically low.

Trailing big with less than half way to go in the second, NIU finally made their move and the shots began to fall. The Huskies began rushing back and got the score to within single digits just over two minutes later and to within a one-possession game with 3:33 left to go.

Fans watched with baited breath as they wondered if the collapse would prove to be one of the great letdowns of the season, especially in a game that the Broncos had controlled so handily. In the course of just five minutes, Western Michigan went from blowing out the visiting Huskies en route to a lopsided upset to risking a devastating loss at home.

Those fears were not alleviated when NIU’s Eugene German, who finished with 23 points in only one half of play, went to the free throw line and tied the game at 67-all with 1:41 on the clock. WMU’s standout guard, Michael Flowers, answered on the following possession and gave the Broncos a temporary lead before German tied the game again at 69-all with only 33-seconds left to play.

WMU took possession with one last chance to put the game away. That is when the Broncos took advantage of the collapsing help-side NIU defense and kicked the ball out to senior guard, Jared Printy, who had been mostly quiet on the offensive end all afternoon.

Printy handled the pass, rose up for the corner and dropped it for three points to give the Broncos the lead and fans a reason to go wild with just 5-seconds remaining. The Huskies called timeout and had one last chance to tie the game on a half court three point shot by German that gave fans one last gasp as it clanked off the iron at the buzzer. The miss sealed the big upset at home and gave the Broncos some much-needed momentum going into their final games in back-to-back contests against their Michigan MAC rivals.

The Broncos improved to 12-17 (6-10) and the Huskies fall to a mirror image record of 17-12 (10-6). Western Michigan closes their home schedule for senior night against Eastern Michigan on March 3rd and on the road against Central Michigan on March 6. Both games will be exciting contests and should give fans competitive basketball as we prepare for post-season play.

The Mid-American Conference has been a tale of Home vs. Away all season and Saturday’s contest was no different. The season-long advantage home teams have maintained this year in the MAC will be tested on the neutral site of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland after first round contests at campus sites.

WMU Stampedes NIU with Electric Performance by Jordan Walker

The Western Michigan University women’s basketball team took care of business on Saturday afternoon and defeated the visiting Huskies of Northern Illinois University.

The Broncos effort can be summed up in just two words: Jordan Walker.

Walker was an absolute whirlwind that the Huskies could not contain. The guard scored 17 of WMU’s first 21 points. Simply put, magic happened whenever the ball was in Walker’s hands and each time she was in control, we were reminded of Mark Jackson iconic remark about Kobe Bryant, “Mama, there goes that man!” Her performance on Saturday afternoon warranted an update to the phrase: “Mama, there goes that woman!”

Northern Illinois knew where the ball was going every time the Broncos set up their offense: Jordan Walker. The only problem was that Walker also knew where the ball was going: In the basket.

Despite the remarkable opening for Walker and the Broncos, they trailed after the first quarter, thanks in large part to a stellar opening by Myia Starks. However, Walker proved that she is going to be trouble for opponents in the Mid-American Conference tournament in the coming weeks.

The effort was not without reward, though, and Walker had the Broncos and Huskies tied up at 35-35 going into the half. Despite trailing early and only managing a tie at halftime, the Broncos never seemed nervous and played with confidence throughout. They displayed the poise and calm efficiency that will be required to make a run in the coming weeks.

Out of the break, the Broncos continued to play at a consistent level, while the Huskies finally began to slow. The steady efficiency of Western Michigan’s pressure had them edge out a four point lead after the third period and break the game wide open in the fourth, holding NIU to just 4 points in the fourth quarter.

Despite things often being close on the scoreboard, Western Michigan never seemed to be under threat of losing the game. Whether because of the stellar performance from Walker or the consistent all-around production from the WMU women as a whole, the Broncos appeared to be in control all afternoon.

Walker accounted for over half her team’s points and ended the afternoon being embraced by fellow teammates in recognition and appreciation of her career day. Her stat line of 33 points (13-21 field goals & 7-11 three point) and 6 rebounds unequivocally played a huge part in the Bronco’s success, but Walker was also supported by teammates Leighah-Amori Wool and Sydney Shafer who both chipped in 10 points. The Broncos also relied on a well-balanced performance by Breanna Mobley who finished the game with a full stat sheet of 9 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 3 steals.

The Broncos will close out their regular season with a road matchup against Eastern Michigan on March 4th and senior night on March 7th in an early post-season test against a conference tournament contender: Ball State.

MI Herald Tribune: 2020 MAC Women’s Basketball Top Performers

As the NCAA basketball regular season comes to a close for the women of the Mid-American Conference, we have finalized our first and second team awards, as well as superlatives from the league’s best players and arenas.

First Team

G – Molly Davis (CMU)
G – Micaela Kelly (CMU)
G – Jordan Walker (WMU)
F – Breanna Mobley (WMU)
C – Kyra Bussell (CMU)

Second Team

G – Jenna Annecchiarico (EMU)
G – Maddy Watters (CMU)
F – Areanna Combs (EMU)
F – Leighah-Amori Wool (WMU)
C – Gabrielle Bird (CMU)

Unsurprisingly, all five starters from the MAC-leading Central Michigan Chippewas are represented between our first and second teams. The Chips boast a conference best 21-4 (14-0) record at the time of publishing and have three players in contention for our All-Michigan MAC Offensive POY. Western Michigan 15-10 (8-6) is represented with three players of their own and Eastern Michigan 13-12 (8-6) rounds out the list with two.

Player Superlatives

Best 3-point Shooter: Molly Davis & Maddy Watters (CMU)
Best Finisher: Breanna Mobley (WMU) & Molly Davis (CMU)
Best Slasher: Micaela Kelly (CMU) & Jordan Walker (WMU)
Best Rebounder: Breanna Mobley (WMU)
Best Passer: Jenna Annecchiarico (EMU)

Several players competed in a few categories and the comparisons were too close to only name one winner. One thing is for sure, Michigan owns the MAC and while CMU is the clear favorite going into the conference tournament, EMU and WMU have the tools to make runs as well.

Players of the Year

Offensive POY: Micaela Kelly (CMU)
Kelly established herself as the presumptive POY early in the year and hasn’t looked back since. Nonetheless, it is impressive that she was able to hold off incredible competition for the award, even on her own roster. Kelly leads the MAC in points and assists. She also ranks 5th in rebounding in Michigan MAC schools and 15th overall in the MAC.
Honorable Mention: Molly Davis (CMU), Jordan Walker (WMU) & Kyra Bussell (CMU)

Defensive POY: Breanna Mobley (WMU)
Breanna Mobley has dominated all season on the defensive end. She has put together an impressive resume, leading the conference with her rebounding dominance and is third overall in the MAC for blocked shots (1st in Michigan MAC).
Honorable Mention: Kyra Bussell (CMU)

Team Superlatives

Best Concessions: Western Michigan University
Bacon Cheeseburgers, Italian Sausage and delicious soft pretzels. The food at WMU has all the stadium favorites, but without the usually disappointing gameday quality. Plus: did we mention Bacon Cheeseburgers?
Best Parking: Eastern Michigan University
While CMU has an adjacent parking lot and WMU offers a shuttle to the game, Eastern Michigan offers the most and closest parking for those attending games.
Best Arena: Eastern Michigan University
The Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI is undoubtedly a beautiful and well kept space. The large Jumbotron over center court sets the scene for the nicest MAC arena in Michigan.
Best Timeout Entertainment: Central Michigan University
It doesn’t get much better than Central Michigan University’s timeout entertainment. All the usual suspects are there (Trivia, basketball shell game and various shooting competitions), but our personal favorite is the Buffalo Wild Wings Chicken Chuckin’ contest where a contestant slingshots a rubber chicken from half court.
Best Shooting: Central Michigan University
The Chippewas can shoot from behind the arch up and down the lineup. The Chips make it rain from deep and the crowd at McGuirk loves it. The Chips also boast some of the MAC’s best finishers on dribble drives to the rim. If you want to see electric offense, attend a game at McGuirk.
Best Game Atmosphere: Central Michigan University
It is rare that a women’s sports team outdraws their male counterpart, but the CMU women routinely accomplish this rare feat and regularly pack McGuirk Arena to the rafters with a rowdy and raucous crowd. If you see only one Michigan MAC basketball game, you can not do better than cheering on the CMU women at McGuirk.

MI Herald Tribune: 2020 MAC Men’s Basketball Top Performers

As the NCAA basketball regular season comes to a close for the men of the Mid-American Conference, we have finalized our first and second team awards, as well as superlatives from the league’s best players and arenas.

First Team

G – Michael Flowers (WMU)
G – Ty Groce (EMU)
F – David DiLeo (CMU)
F – Brandon Johnson (WMU)
C – Boubacar Toure (EMU)

Second Team

G – Noah Morgan (EMU)
G – Yeikson Montero (EMU)
F – Dallas Morgan (CMU)
F – Kevin McKay (CMU)
C – Rob Montgomery (CMU)

Central Michigan 13-13 (6-7) and Eastern Michigan 15-12 (5-9), at the time of publishing, both have four players representing their squads in our first and second teams, while Western Michigan 11-16 (4-10) grabs two first-team spots for the Broncos. The three teams have been boom or bust with several streaks going both ways throughout the year that have left each hovering around the .500 mark. However, there are glimpses that things might be heating up at just the right time going into post-season play.

Player Superlatives

Best 3-point Shooter: David DiLeo (CMU)
Best Dunker: Ty Groce (EMU)
Best Finisher: Kevin McKay (CMU)
Best Slasher: Michael Flowers (WMU)
Best Rebounder: Boubacar Toure (EMU)
Best Passer: Devontae Lane (CMU)

The MAC offers athletic and power dunkers, three-point sharpshooters and in-game battles between some of the best finishers and defenders you’re likely to see and these Michigan representatives are among the best in the conference.

Players of the Year

Offensive POY: Michael Flowers (WMU)
Michael Flowers has proven to be a tough matchup in his last two years in the Bronco’s starting lineup. Flowers’ game is well-rounded. He can hit the three, create his own shots off the dribble, make contested buckets in the lane and capitalize on free throw opportunities. Flowers is 5th in the MAC (1st in Michigan MAC) in scoring this season. In addition to his scoring prowess, he is also 8th in the MAC (1st in Michigan MAC) in assists.
Honorable Mention: David DiLeo (CMU) & Brandon Johnson (WMU)

Defensive POY: Ty Groce (EMU)
Ty Groce uses his unmatched vertical for more than high-flying dunks. He ranks 11th in the MAC (3rd in Michigan MAC) in blocked shots, 2nd in the MAC (1st in Michigan MAC) in steals and 17th in the MAC (5th in Michigan MAC) in rebounding. He is athletic enough to guard on the perimeter against shooters or slashers and big enough to defend a large percentage of the MAC’s big men.
Honorable Mention: Boubacar Toure (EMU)

Team Superlatives

Best Concessions: Western Michigan University
Bacon Cheeseburgers, Italian Sausage and delicious soft pretzels. The food at WMU has all the stadium favorites, but without the usually disappointing gameday quality. Plus.. did we mention Bacon Cheeseburgers? Need we say more?
Best Parking: Eastern Michigan
While CMU has an adjacent parking lot and WMU offers a shuttle to the game, Eastern Michigan offers the most and closest parking for those attending games.
Best Arena: Eastern Michigan University
The Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI is undoubtedly a beautiful and well kept space. The large Jumbotron over center court sets the scene for the nicest MAC arena in Michigan.
Best Timeout Entertainment: Central Michigan University
It doesn’t get much better than Central Michigan University’s timeout entertainment. All the usual suspects are there (Trivia, basketball shell game and various shooting competitions), but our personal favorite is the Buffalo Wild Wings Chicken Chuckin’ contest where a contestant slingshots a rubber chicken from half court.
Best Dunks: Eastern Michigan University
The EMU Eagles can dunk. The Eagles boast the most electric high fliers and power dunkers that can throw it down during warmups and take off on contested dunks that are not only relegated to open fast breaks.
Best Game Atmosphere: Central Michigan University
Fans always fill the stands reliably at McGuirk and the Chippewas brand of play & excellent three point shooting makes for a raucous environment when the shots start falling and the crowd in Mt. Pleasant gets “fired up!”

Final Minutes Swing in Favor of Toledo at Western Michigan

Saturday marked the first of several must-win games for teams battling to clear their way into the MAC tournament when the Toledo Rockets (12-14) came to Kalamazoo, MI in a face-off with the Western Michigan Broncos (11-15).

Each squad looked to gain a victory in what was sure to be a close contest. Toledo won the previous meeting in January 67-59 and things followed that track again on Saturday. Toledo came into the game with a strategy that seems to be at the heart of beating the Broncos and helped bring them the victory a month earlier: Stop Michael Flowers.

The junior guard, who recently eclipsed 1000 career points a week ago at EMU, is the Broncos most consistent scoring threat and part of a powerful inside-out offensive duo with redshirt junior, Brandon Johnson, who have each topped 400 points so far this season (double that of any other scorer on the team).

Toledo’s strategy seemed to be working in the early going, keeping things stuck in a back and forth contest that had 12 lead changes in just the first half. Western was able to gain small leads, but the defensive focus paid to Flowers kept him off the scoreboard much of the afternoon and he finished with just 7-points.

On the other end, Toledo finished with five players in double figures and were led by Willie Jackson (19 pts & 10 reb) who netted a double-double and passed Luke Knapke in the scoring column with several late-game free throw visits. Spencer Littleson also made things interesting for the Rockets, engaging in a game-within-the-game tiff with Flowers that got chippy as the game went on. Littleson also made an impact on the offensive end with two steals that led to back to back breakaway dunks.

Things were not without a glimmer of hope for WMU, however, as junior guard Rafael Cruz Jr. stepped up in a big way in just his second start of the season. Cruz led the Broncos on Saturday with a career-high against Division 1 opponents of 21 points. His biggest moments of the afternoon came when the Broncos needed him most. Cruz hit back to back 3-point buckets to pull Western within striking distance in the final minute. Toledo was able to hold the Broncos at bay with solid shooting from the charity stripe and stretch the lead out one last time with a final score of 68-59.

The Toledo Rockets improve to 12-14 as they look to hit .500 before season’s end and Western Michigan drops to 11-16. Western closes the season with games against Ball State, Northern Illinois, senior night against Eastern Michigan and regular season finale at Central Michigan.

The Broncos will need Cruz to continue his ascent into a primary scoring option if Western Michigan is going to get back on track this season.

Eastern Michigan Beat Broncos in Dominant “Super Hero” Day Performance

The Eastern Michigan Eagles asserted themselves against the visiting Western Michigan Broncos from the opening tip and did not look back in their second in-state rivalry game of the week.

A crowd gathered to support the home team on “Super Hero Day” chalked full of Super Heroes greeting children in the stands and fun games of “Simon Says” at halftime.

The superheroes weren’t the only ones wearing capes on Saturday, as visitors were treated to their very own Eastern Michigan Capes and high flying acrobatics from the EMU men that provided scores of dunks all afternoon.

Eastern Michigan got an early jump on the Broncos and things never really felt close. The Eagles showed that they have a player for every occasion. EMU is one of the most balanced teams in conference and show flashes of success that may surprise opponents this post-season. Italian guard Thomas Binelli is a deep threat sharp shooter, Ty Groce, Noah Morgan and Yeikson Montero provide pressure with agile dribble drives, Senegalese 7-foot center Boubacar Toure locks down the lane in EMU’s vaunted zone defense and demands double coverage in the paint on offense, and Darion Spottsville runs the entire show at point guard. The Eagles quite literally have every angle covered when things are clicking.

On the opposite end, Western’s young squad seemed to struggle in the particular matchups that EMU forced them into during the showdown. The lone bright spot for the Broncos on Saturday came in the first minutes when junior guard, Michael Flowers, netted his 1000th point on a deep three.

However, things never really got going at a pace necessary for the Broncos to bridge the gap and EMU ran away to a big 69-51 home victory.

The Eagles improve to 14-11 (4-8) and the Broncos fall to 11-14 (4-8) in a wide open Mid-American Conference. The Broncos face a tough opponent in conference-leading Akron and the Eagles challenge Kent State in their next matchups.

Akron Women Hold on after 4th Quarter EMU Comeback

The opening game for Eastern Michigan’s “Super Hero” Day did not disappoint. Fans sat side by side with Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spider-Man and other super heroes as they cheered on the hometown Eagles taking on Mid-American Conference foe, Akron.

The 12-11 Eagles and 10-12 Zips have both hovered around the .500 mark much of the season and each desperately needed a strong showing in final pushes towards the conference tournament early next month in Cleveland, Ohio.

Akron started strong and EMU fell behind by double digits going into halftime, but a strong performance by junior guard Areanna Combs gave the Eagles and raucous crowd new life in the second half.

The Eagles nearly lost Combs after a nasty fall going up for a rebound where she appeared to hit her head directly on the hardwood as she came down hard. She was able to return, however, after a few minutes and reignite the her team with a big three point play that got everyone off the bench and to their feet.

Unfortunately for the home team, the Eagles began to cool down and struggled to convert lightly contested shots in the paint and some wide open three point attempts. Making matters worse, the Zips caught fire and seemed unable to miss with bucket after bucket coming from Kendall Miller, Haliegh Reinoehl and Vari Caitlin.

The scoring surge extended the Akron lead and the Zips held on for the 64-53 win. The victory marked the second win over EMU in recent weeks, with the prior game going into OT.

Akron improves to 11-12 and EMU drops to 12-12. Akron will next play a struggling Buffalo (13-10) team that started conference play strong, but has lost five straight. Eastern Michigan has a significantly tougher matchup against MAC #2 Ball State (17-7).

Eastern Michigan Beats Shorthanded Chippewas at McGuirk

The crowd at McGuirk arena gathered for a MAC conference showdown between in-state rivals Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan University on Tuesday night.

The CMU Chippewas were riding high and hoping to continue their momentum against the visiting Eagles as they prepare for a run in March. However, the contest was not without some added difficulty, as the Chippewas were missing two starters, Devontae Lane (injury) and Dallas Morgan (illness).

Despite missing two key players, the Chippewas were able to take a lead into the half thanks in large part to 8 three point buckets. The Eagles were able to keep things relatively close on the back of stellar three point shooting of their own by Italian guard, Thomas Binelli, who hit 4 straight in the first half. The Chippewas kept the Eagle attack at bay and out of the hands of 7-foot Senegalese big man, Boubacar Toure. The strategy paid off in the first half, as CMU was able to force several handling errors in the post, which kept Toure from devastating the shorthanded Chippewas.

In the second half, the Chippewas shooting slowed and the Eagles were able to consistently get the ball to Toure, who proved unstoppable once the ball was entered successfully to the paint. Binelli’s shooting cooled, but Eagle guard, Ty Groce, began attacking the rim with effective slashing drives that gave EMU a one-two punch in the paint.

CMU was not out of things, and the fans at McGuirk were treated to a familiar sight, namely senior forward David DiLeo going off on a three point barrage that pulled the Chippewas within three with seconds left in the game. Eastern missed some big free throws down the stretch, which exposes the one element of their game that suffers and gave the Chippewas one final shot to tie the game on a last second shot, which just missed.

The Chippewas will look to regroup on Friday against visiting conference leader, Akron, and hope to have Morgan back in the lineup as they try to slay the Zips. Eastern Michigan will face their in-state rival of the week, Western Michigan, at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti this Saturday.

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