It's December 1 ... hey let's do some MAC basketball power rankings.
After all, the conference is doing mighty well for themselves. Dubbed the "most surprising conference" by ESPN's Eamonn Brennan, they have a conference RPI of 13 and a BB State ranking of 11. This is about five or six spots better than what they were in the last few seasons. So many quality wins. But there are also some stragglers, including a pair of schools who have yet to beat a Division I opponent.
So let's rank 'em. These rankings are entirely my own, although in future installments it'll be more of a group effort. 90 percent of the way through doing these, I realized I had asked the contributors for their own rankings. I'm really a bad editor.
|1.||Kent State||5-1||So far they own the best combination of quality wins, best losses, and hardest schedule. If they're also favored to win another regular season title, they're doing it with the most returnees, and Chris Evans has added an extra level of flair to the team.|
|2.||OHIO||4-1||They almost had Louisville by the balls. To even get to that point demonstrates talent. But either they didn't have the closing power, or were screwed on a blocking foul call, depending on your Athenian bias. The win at Marshall was their signature moment thus far.|
|3.||Buffalo||4-1||I think we're all still trying to digest that 29-point shiner they gave home team Dayton last night. It seems evident that Javon McCrea, Mitchell Watt and Zach Filzen can carry this team for 40 minutes at a time.|
|4.||Ball State||3-2||Even I'm doubting myself putting them this high, given their record and who they've played. Let's see what they do against Butler, admittedly weakened since last year, but by virtue of having little other challenges, even a good record wouldn't impress many. I'm slotting them here based on talent and expectations.|
|5.||Bowling Green||4-2||Temple had a slightly depleted roster, but it was a decisive victory against a quality opponent. Again, nobody is standing out, and it's looking more and more like BGSU is going to play all year like a generic drug version of Kent State.|
|6.||Akron||3-3||The Mississippi State win looks better and better, although as the season ages, opening day wins can sometimes be misleading. Right now UA is lacking a certain something, despite playing quality opponents. They were wholly noncompetitive against West Virginia.|
|7.||Toledo||5-1||Of all the years to not play a single power conference team, this is the one. Their strength of schedule has been softer than velvet, but Rian Pearson is shaping up to be the most exciting transfer player of the MAC.|
|8.||Central Michigan||4-2||They went to California and Alaska. Now they have to swing to Philly, Tennessee and Minnesota before finally enjoying another home game. This is an amazing record considering how many frequent flyer miles they've racked up to earn it. Trey Zeigler is slowly improving his shot selection and Austin McBroom might be one of the premier freshmen in the confernece.|
|9.||Miami||2-3||Worst team in the MAC East? It's not a terrible place to be, but yikes this is not necessarily a glamorous team. (In all fairness, it never has been.) But the suspension of
|10.||Eastern Michigan||4-4||The saving grace of the undermanned Eagles is they're doing a relatively decent job of limiting turnovers. But with an overall lack of shooting ability (save for Darrell Lampley), they'll continue to languish in the first-round road tercile of the MAC Tournament.|
|11.||Western Michigan||1-6||No, no, this doesn't seem right at all. Chalk it up to early injuries, a bad schedule, or over-inflated expectations. But something just doesn't add up with this opening record. If this is the WMU team became acclimated to last year they'll win their next four games before a big matchup against Oakland.|
|12.||Northern Illinois||0-6||No surprise, but if they can't scrape together any wins, indifference will set in. The current play of Abdel Nader might excite a few hundred, at least. And if they can't score (they've yet to go above 60), then it's going to require defense, which they're improving on.|
Pretty bad, huh?