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NCAA Basketball MAC Basketball

2014 MAC Tournament: Northern Illinois Basketball Scrapes Past Bowling Green

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of a conference tournament usually ends with one team blowing out the other and moving on to the second round to face a better team. However, the game between the Northern Illinois Huskies and the Bowling Green Falcons was not that type of game.

Northern Illinois led by four at the half, but just before the end of regulation, Bowling Green surged forward to tie it up and send the game to overtime. The Huskies held the Falcons off in overtime, but what should really please Northern Illinois moving forward was the play of Jehvon Clarke. Cameron Black and Richaun Holmes normally have good games for the Huskies, but Clarke stepping up led to the victory.

Next up for Northern Illinois is a much better team, Eastern Michigan. Eastern Michigan is ranked No. 92 in RPI and although RPI isn’t favored by many people, it can be relied on especially when you see that the Huskies are ranked 210. On top of that stat, Northern Illinois has just two wins inside the top 150. Their big game was the upset over the Toledo Rockets, and they’re probably going to have to be content with that win rather than a deep run in the MAC tournament.

Does Northern Illinois have a chance to make it to the MAC tournament championship game? Probably not. However, if Clarke can continue to have success and help Holmes and Black, the Huskies could be a legitimate threat to Eastern Michigan and keep going to another round.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.