The University of Toledo men’s basketball team comes into the Mid-American Conference tournament as the No. 2 seed and has a matchup with the No. 7 seed Miami in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Cleveland.
According to Ken Pomeroy of KenPom.com, Toledo has a 70.9 percent chance of reaching the semifinals, a 44.4 percent chance of making the finals, and a 22.6 percent chance of winning a MAC title.
Here is a breakdown of who Toledo might face on the road to a potential MAC title.
Chance of making semis: 18 percent.
When they have the ball: During the MAC season, the Redhawks were ninth in the conference in offensive efficiency. They average 70.9 points per game. The leading scorer is freshman Nike Sibande at 14.6 points per game. Point guard Darrian Ringo adds 9.2 points per game and is one of the top assist men in the nation with 7.1 assists per game. When Toledo and Miami met earlier this season, the Rockets concentrated on limiting the drive and dish ability of Ringo and held him to just two assists. Logan McLane adds 9.0 points per game.
When Toledo has the ball: Miami’s defense is their calling card. Ringo leads the MAC in steals at 2.8 per game and Miami allows just 69.9 points per game, which is second in the MAC. During MAC play, the Redhawks are third in defensive efficiency and lead the league in steal percentage.
Semifinals; No. 3 Eastern Michigan
Chance of making semis: 62.2 percent
Chance of making finals: 29.6 percent
When they have the ball: The Eagles are led in scoring by Elijah Minnie and James Thompson IV with 16.8 and 15.3 points per game respectively. Paul Jackson adds 14.9 points and 4.5 assists per game. Eastern Michigan is fifth in the conference in offensive efficiency, but is 11th in points per game at 72.1. The Eagles like to get out in transition off of defensive turnovers and get easy baskets. They have been able to do that in two wins over Toledo this season.
When Toledo has the ball: Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone has been stifling lately during the Eagles’ six-game win streak. EMU is the top team in defensive efficiency during MAC play as well as effective field goal percentage and turnover rate. Toledo has used different players in the middle against the zone, including Tre’Shaun Fletcher and Luke Knapke and Nate Navigato was able to make eight 3-pointers against the zone in the second meeting between the teams.
Final: No. 1 Buffalo
Chance of making finals: 58.9 percent
Chance of winning title: 40 percent
When they have the ball: Buffalo is second in the conference in offensive efficiency and has a balanced offensive attack led CJ Massinburg (17.4 ppg) and Nick Perkins (16.7 ppg). The Bulls’ guards can beat defenses off the dribble and Buffalo leads the league in shooting percentage at 47.6 percent. The Bulls are the top scoring offense at 85.2 points per game. When Toledo and Buffalo met in the MAC opener, the Bulls scored 104 points, so Toledo would have its hands full defensively trying to slow down this potent offense.
When Toledo has the ball: The Bulls rank 11th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 76.7 points per game, but they are second in defensive efficiency during MAC play. Buffalo did allow Toledo to score 94 points, so the Rockets should be able to generate some offense if the teams meet again in the finals. In that first meeting, Tre’Shaun Fletcher scored 27 points, Jaelan Sanford scored 18, and Willie Jackson had 16 off the bench. Toledo shot 54.1 percent from the field in that game. There would be plenty of offensive fireworks if this in fact is the finals matchup.
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