The MAC East's Basketball Stranglehold Over The West: By The Numbers

That crying sound you've heard in the last two weeks is the MAC East holding down the MAC West, administering a pink belly to the six teams until the West cries uncle — or until the crossover games are complete. At the current standings the East is being the West 21-3 which guarantees a seventh straight winning record of their interdivisional brethren. We're going back only seven years because prior to that Marshall constituted the 13th team, BGSU was a West team and I really don't feel like going further back than 2006.

Counting regular season and postseason dating back to that '06 season, the MAC East is a combined 203-76, including 25-7 all time against them in postseason tournaments. (Including Buffalo's 49-48 road win over WMU in the CIT.) The yearly breakdown:

2012 (as of February 9): East 25, West 5
2011: East 34, West 11
2010: East 30, West 11
2009: East 32, West 7
2008: East 25, West 15
2007: East 37, West 13

So it's not really news that the East is winning by this much, although they're on pace (.875) to break their record set in 2009 of an .821 winning percentage in "crossover" games. The three losses this year are: EMU over BGSU, Toledo over Miami and WMU over Miami. Basically if Miami can pull their weight — and the division can stomach maybe one or two more "upsets" down the road — then the East could set a new level of dominance.

Team-by-team record in "crossover" games (updated February 9):

MAC East
Kent State: 43-3
Akron: 44-9
Miami: 34-9
OHIO: 33-14
Buffalo: 29-20
Bowling Green: 24-23

MAC West
Western Michigan: 19-33
Toledo: 15-36
Central Michigan: 13-34
Ball State: 13-35
Eastern Michigan: 10-35
Northern Illinois: 8-34

• Here's how impressive Kent State's dominance has been: In 2005 they were 5-4 against the MAC West, more losses than they've had in the last seven years against the division. Their last home loss to the West also came into 2005, and that was against BGSU, then a West member.

• And yes, BGSU is the only team that even came close to a losing record — two more games this year, there's still time! — but they still have a net scoring differential of +3.

• Toledo's relative success is also marked as the last MAC West team to reach the MAC Basketball Championship, but this occurred in 2006. The 2007 version of the Rocket is also the only West team in the last seven years to earn the No. 1 overall seed.

• Additionally — and I could be wrong here — but no MAC West team has ever posted a winning record against the MAC East in a single season. Toledo came close in 2007 at 4-4 and WMU was 4-5 last season, with that winning record creeping to a losing one thanks to losses in the MACT and CIT.

The obvious question is: will this ever change? There doesn't seem to be any sign of the six MAC East teams slowing. Perhaps Miami, if Charlie Coles hands the program over to another coach in the next few years. Buffalo is always wavering between promise and mediocrity. BGSU seems to be getting better, and Akron/Kent State/OHIO are in total program reload mode. As for the West teams, they're all at different points in their quest to return to the NCAA Tournament.

Short answer: nope, it's gonna be like this for a while, lack of paradigm shift permitting.

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