Some NCAA basketball conference tournaments have started while others start this week. The Mid-American Conference tournament gets underway on Monday with games at the campuses of the higher seeds in the opening round, with the other remaining games played at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Just as in other conferences, the MAC has re-arranged its conference tournament seedings to give the division winners byes right to the semifinals. This gives the conference a better opportunity of having at large bids for the NCAA Tournament that follows. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will get byes to the quarterfinals.
This means the final four for the MAC should be Akron, Western Michigan, Buffalo and Toledo.
The East division of this conference has won the tournament for 10 straight seasons. However, this season Toledo, from the West, has a good chance of changing that drought.
Over their past four games, the Rockets are 4-0 against the spread in the conference tournament and 3-0 against the number when taking points.
Toledo was nearly flawless against beatable opponents as they won 18 of 19 games straight up against opponents with sub .500 records. However, a trend on Bovada points out that Toledo struggled in conference play and was an unprofitable 4-13 against the spread this season.
Buffalo returned four of its starters to the team this season. In MAC play, the Bulls were 12-5 SU along with 13-4 ATS.
Western Michigan was the West division’s last team to win the conference crown back in 2004. Western Michigan finished off their conference season with a run of 9-1 SU and 5-0 ATS when the favorite.
Akron, points out topbet and betonline odds makers’ has been in the finals of the conference tournament for 7 straight seasons and has a record of 7-1 SU and ATS over the past three years in MAC tournament action. Sportsbook.com points out that Akron has a 13-2 SU record over its past 15 tournament games in the MAC.
A big sleeper in this tournament will be Ohio University. The Bobcats have reached the finals of the MAC tournament in 3 of the past 4 years and have won 2 of the 3 finals they played in.
The Bobcats are not strong off the glass, but are an impressive 33-4 SU over their past 37 games versus opponents with a record below .600.
Buffalo is a good play as the dog. The Bulls are 8-1 ATS over their past 9 games as an underdog. Buffalo has also covered in 5 of their past 6 games as the dog in the MAC tourney.
Akron is 9-1 against the spread versus No. 2 and No. 3 seeds and 7-1 against the number in their past 8 games.
The tournament will have its upsets, as it does each season. Nevertheless, the tournament setup now makes it easier for the top seeds to play deep into the tournament to give them a better showing and a possible opportunity for an at large bid, as only the champion gets the automatic berth into March Madness.