MAC Basketball Roundtable: Steal Somebody From Another Team And Make Him Your Own

The MAC hoops roundtable is a periodcal discussion of MACsketball topics from MAC blogs found around the Internetiverse. Every so often we take turns asking each other questions, all the authors respond on their blogs, and we rotate the task of compiling all the answers on another blog. Carter from Eagle Totem (and the occasional HB contributor) is asking this round of questions. Here are our responses from myself, Brown and Gold, Brandon Hickey and Phil Friend.

1. Getting a second NCAA bid: did Ohio screw the MAC's only chance, or is there still hope?

Matt Sussman: Yeah, this chance doesn't seem to be there anymore. Or maybe it was never really there. Perhaps we were kidding ourselves, thinking that OHIO was heads and tails above everyone else. They aren't. Remember that this conference in 2011 had four teams win postseason tournament games, not including Akron who won the damn conference. The MAC is justifiably the 12th or 13th best conference (better than the last couple years) but they aren't at a point where a team can drop three or four games in the conference and consider themselves an at-large.

Brown & Gold: The MAC's train for an at-large bid is gone. Nobody has a resume that can make a statement come March, and with the way the MAC is playing out, no one will come close now either.

Brandon Hickey: It's not looking good. Too many teams from the Big Six are above or right on the bubble, and we all know how much the NCAA loves those guys. Truth is, MAC teams just didn't do enough in non-conference play. Kent State should have went at least 2-1 in Utah. Akron couldn't build off of its win against Mississippi State. Ohio needed to beat teams like Robert Morris and certainly BG. The only way for the MAC to get multiple bids is to have an undefeated team like Murray State or a team with one loss that is in the "also receiving votes" category. The MAC just doesn't have the pull yet with the selection committee like the Mountain West, Missouri Valley, or West Coast Conferences do. Being recognized on a national scale is huge, and none of the MAC schools are near deserving of that yet.

Phil Friend: I may be in the minority on this but I think the MAC is/was going to be a one-bid league regardless. Ohio was a nine-seed in 2010 when the Bobcats won this thing and then beat Georgetown. Moral: Anyone can win the MAC tourney (unless it's Ball State).

2) Parity or fluke? Ohio started conference play 1-2, while the directional Michigan schools, which combined for a 16-25 non-conference record, each went 2-1.

Wins over Toledo and NIU should really count as half-wins, but they don't. The only super-shocker in the East was EMU over Ball State in Muncie. Having said that, at this point the OOC records will start meaning less and less. They're all tune-ups for MAC play. WMU will be much better than what they did in November and December, and it looks like Toledo's record will eventually fall back to the terra firma. So, yes. Since the first- and second-round byes are division agnostic, and so long as wins over NIU count as whole wins, then anybody has a shot at them. Short answer: too early to tell, says the man who wants every team to finish 8-8.

Parity, I guess. In the East, it's so competitive top-to-bottom that 1-2 for Ohio was somewhat predictable. In the West, you are talking a decent CMU team, a good WMU team, and the only real surprise is Eastern and their shocker against Ball State. But when you play that Syracuse zone and force teams to shoot well against you, that happens. Otherwise, attribute it to scheduling.

Parity respective to each of the divisions. The dominance of the Eastern schools over the Western schools has been well documented, and the teams in each division seem to be very close in talent level. This truly is a league where any team can win on any night. In fact (before Wednesday's games) Only Toledo has been defeated by more than 10 points in conference play. Buffalo beats Kent State by one at home and then goes to Oxford a week later and loses to Miami by one. Eastern loses at home to Central and then beats Ball State in Muncie that same week. That's the league in a nutshell right there. We'll see how much the West has caught up with the East during cross-over play, but for now it seems that every game is a fight for survival.

As a Ball State supporter, mark me down for FLUKE. Ball State, who is superior to EMU (no offense Carter), lost at home to the Eagles. Oy. That's happened a few times too many for my liking in the Billy Taylor era.

3) If you could steal one player from another MAC team to add to your school's team for the rest of this season only, who would you take?

Two months ago I'd say they needed a scoring guard, but between Scott Thomas, Dee Brown and Jordon Crawford, one or two of them usually have good enough nights from that position. However, BGSU desperately needs help on the perimeter defense. With Calhoun, Oglesby and Black underneath they're decent enough on the boards and post-game, but those guards are getting demolished out there. I'd nab Michael Porrini from Kent State. Best defensive guard in the MAC.

Julian Mavunga. I love athletic forwards, and with Flenard Whitfield not himself this year, someone has to move around so Matt Stainbrook can just sit his ass in the paint like always.

I really like this question. Akron needs a reliable scorer on offense, so I would take Miami's Julian Mavunga. Yes, he plays the same position as Nik Cvetinovic, but you can't argue with his numbers. He's close to averaging a double-double (18.5 points and 9.9 rebounds); I can't remember the last time that the Zips had someone who regularly put up 14-15+ points per game. Cvetinovic is starting to play more outside of the paint now (even shooting threes), and frontcount depth is a weakness for this team. I wish there was a high scoring slasher-type player in this league; I would take that guy in a heartbeat. Central Michigan's Trey Zeigler comes close, but I think any team would love to have Mavunga representing their school.

It's cheap to say the league's leading scorer and rebounder, Julian Mavunga, but yes, give me Gordon Hayward's prep classmate. Him and Jarrod Jones would make a nice combo.

4) Miami's Julian Mavunga leads the MAC in both points per game and rebounds per game. Make the case for someone else as Player of the Year.

I'll make a case for Javon McCrea. He singlehandedly beat Kent State (using both hands, although), and with Mitchell Watt as his lanky sidekick, tucked away in the falls of Niagara is the best one-two forward combination in the MAC. But McCrea is the best one-one combination, and he's going to only get stronger and learn more as the season continues. Second only to Mavunga (barely), McCrea leads the MAC in percentage of points scored (through four conference games) as well as averaging nearly three offensive rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block per game.

Jarrod Jones has been the backbone for Ball State this year, plus his team is at the top of their division (even if they are tied with 3 other teams). Winning has to play a small part in this award, and Jones has been just behind Mavunga this year.

As stated before, I would love to have this guy on my team. It's tough to pick someone else as the MAC POY, because Mavunga does it all. I guess if I had to pick one it'd be Kent's Justin Greene. I have a lot of respect for him and his play. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding and shoots over 50%. His only problem seems to be getting in foul trouble, and as evidenced in the Buffalo game the Flashes are a different team when he is not playing. The MAC seems to be a power forward league, and Greene is one of the best.

Jarrod Jones, Ball State. The man has been the MAC West Player of the Week four times already this year. Ho-hum. While the rest of the team has been struggling at times, Jones has put this team on his back and any success the Cards hope to have in the MAC tourney rests on his shoulders.

5) Rank 'em.

Neat thing about power rankings is you look at them once, then sit down two hours later and make another list — without any games being played — and your lists are going to change. OK, one swing at this, Suss, make it count:

1. Ball State
2. Akron
3. OHIO
4. Kent State
5. Buffalo
6. BGSU
7. EMU
8. WMU
9. Miami
10. CMU
11. Toledo
12. NIU


1. Akron
2. Ball State
3. Ohio
4. Kent State
5. Buffalo
6. Western Michigan
7. Bowling Green
8. Miami
9. Eastern Michigan
10. Central Michigan
11. Toledo
12. Northern Illinois

Yeah this was really difficult. Especially after tonight. It's like doing a power rankings for the Big Ten this year.

1. Akron
2. Ohio
3. Ball State
4. Buffalo
5. Kent
6. Bowling Green
7. Eastern Michigan
8. Western Michigan
9. Miami
10. Central Michigan
11. Toledo
12. Northern Illinois

1. Akron
2. Ohio
3. Kent State
4. Ball State
5. Buffalo
6. Eastern Michigan
7. Bowling Green
8. Western Michigan
9. Central Michigan
10. Toledo
11. Miami
12. Northern Illinois

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