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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CMU, EMU look to settle MAC West Division logjam

Entering the final day of the regular season on Thursday (March 4), any team in the top half of the Mid-American Conference's West Division could still claim all or part of the division crown, depending on how the night's games shake out.

At least old rivals Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan — both 8-7 in the league — have their destinies in their own hands when they meet at 6:30 p.m. at EMU's Convocation Center. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net Detroit.

Ball State (also 8-7) can earn a share of the title with the EMU/CMU winner by beating host Western Michigan Thursday night.
The loser of the EMU/CMU contest could fall as far as eighth, while the winner could be as high as the No. 2 seed in the upcoming MAC tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

CMU, which beat the Eagles the last two meetings with EMU — in last year's MAC tournament, then again with a 62-49 win in Mount Pleasant earlier this season — owned a share of last year's regular-season division title as well, its third since 1998. A win Thursday would let the fourth-year coach Ernie Zeigler's Chippewas (14-14) finish over .500 both overall and in the conference for the first time since the Chris Kaman-led Chippewas won the MAC and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2003. That's a good sign for a program that's only had nine winning seasons since joining Division I in the 1972-73 school year.

For coach Charles Ramsey's Eagles (16-13), it's hardly the only big news on the Ypsilanti campus. The EMU women have already secured the No. 2 seed in the MAC tournament, while the EMU men's swimming and diving team — the perennial class of the conference with a MAC-record 28 titles, including the last three in a row — will help host the conference championships at Jones Natatorium, starting with prelims on Thursday.

Meanwhile in Mount Pleasant, the eight-time MAC champion CMU wrestling team — ranked in the top 10 in the nation — will host the MAC championships at Rose Center this weekend, March 6-7.

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