Malique Jacobs, Kent State Golden Flashes, MAC Tournament preview

CBB Review prepares you for every conference tournament leading up to Selection Sunday. Up next: The MAC Tournament.

2023 MAC Awards

Player of the Year: Rayj Dennis, Toledo

Freshman of the Year: Reggie Bass, Central Michigan

Transfer of the Year: Miryne Thomas, Kent State

Coach of the Year: Tod Kowalczyk, Toledo

First Team:

  • G: Sincere Carry, Kent State (17.4 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.8 APG)
  • G: Xavier Castaneda, Akron (21.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 39.2 3P%)
  • G: Rayj Dennis, Toledo (19.5 PPG, 5.9 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG)
  • F: JT Shumate, Toledo (16.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 41.4 3P%, 54.2 FG%)
  • F: Enrique Freeman, Akron (16.5 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 BPG, 60.9 FG%)

Second Team:

  • G: Malique Jacobs, Kent State (12.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.7 SPG)
  • G: Curtis Jones, Buffalo (15.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG
  • F: Setric Millner, Toledo (16.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 42.1 3P%)
  • F: Dwight Wilson, Ohio (15.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 62.0 FG%)
  • C: Payton Sparks, Ball State (13.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 59.1 FG%)

MAC Tournament Simulation

Quarterfinals – Thursday, Mar. 9

1. Toledo (25-6, 16-2) vs. 8. Miami (OH) (12-19, 6-12) – 11 a.m. on ESPN+

Toledo has the second-highest scoring average of any team in the country. While there are a few teams that can test them in the MAC Tournament, Miami (OH) wont’ be one of them.

Mat’s pick: 1. Toledo

4. Ball State (20-11, 11-7) vs. 5. Ohio (18-13, 10-8) – 1:30 p.m. on ESPN+

Ball State has lost four of its last five games, with two of those coming against teams that didn’t even qualify for the MAC Tournament. Ohio ended the season on a mini downslide, but the vast majority of the second half of the MAC season was a success. Both teams will score a lot of points, but the Bobcats should score more.

Mat’s pick: 5. Ohio

2. Kent State (25-6, 15-3) vs. 7. Northern Illinois (13-18, 9-9) – 4 p.m. on ESPN+

Sincere Carry and Malique Jacobs form one of the best 1-2 punches in the MAC. Jacobs can also be very disruptive on the defensive end. Kent State by a mile.

Mat’s pick: 2. Kent State

3. Akron (21-10, 13-5) vs. 6. Buffalo (15-16, 9-9) – 6:30 p.m. on ESPN+

The Zips and Bulls faced off twice during the regular season, with Akron taking the first game by 17 points and the latest matchup by 20. Beating a team three times in the same season can be difficult, but clearly, Akron hasn’t had too much trouble with Buffalo.

Mat’s pick: 3. Akron

Semifinals – Friday, Mar. 10

1. Toledo vs. 5. Ohio – 5 p.m. on CBSSN

Ohio deserves a lot of credit for a successful season after losing a ton of its best players to the transfer portal. When it comes down to it, Toledo just has too much firepower. It’s been the story for the Rockets all season, and it isn’t about to end here.

Mat’s Pick: 1. Toledo

2. Kent State vs. 3. Akron – 7:30 p.m. on CBSSN

Xavier Castaneda is the best scoring in the MAC Tournament, and he could very well take over this tournament. But Kent State has Sincere Carry, which might just be the next best option. For me, Enrique Freeman is the difference maker. I’m not sure Kent State can keep him from doing damage for a full 40 minutes.

Mat’s pick: 3. Akron

Championship – Saturday, Mar. 11

1. Toledo vs. 3. Akron – 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Most would’ve predicted a Toledo vs. Kent State final, but I chose to be different with Akron. And the Zips would deserve to play in the championship if they get there. But Toledo is just different and in March, they could be a serious problem.

Mat’s pick: 1. Toledo

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