We're a little more familiar with each team now that the season is a few weeks old. Are there any changes to our rankings after last week's debut edition?
Yes, and those changes start right at the top.
1. Bowling Green Falcons (6-1) -- LW: 2
Last week: vs Marist (L, 74-60), vs Old Dominion (W, 77-58), at Ohio State (W, 64-52)
This week: Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge (Springfield, Mass.) -- vs Monmouth (12/1)
They may have lost their first game of the season to Marist, but the Falcons left us little choice. Their win over Ohio State was their second almost-wire-to-wire win over a Big Ten team this season, and neither of those games were at home. Couple that with a win over Butler from the Big East, as well as MAAC favorite Iona, and no other MAC team comes anywhere near Bowling Green's early-season resume.
BGSU has to keep winning, of course, but this has been among the best starts the Falcons have had in their decade-long run of excellence.
2. Central Michigan Chippewas (1-2) -- LW: 1
Last week: at Marquette (L, 84-72)
This week: Paradise Jam (Virgin Islands) -- vs Kansas (11/28), vs Duke (11/29), vs Xavier (11/30)
It continues to be true that Central Michigan has, by far, the most difficult non-conference schedule of any team in the MAC. While this may benefit the Chippewas in the long run, we can't justify keeping CMU at the top of our rankings if they're not winning games. They played very well at times against Marquette but were constantly playing catch-up in the second half.
This week, CMU has more opportunities against the best of the best. They face the Jayhawks of Kansas on Thanksgiving and follow that with match-ups against Duke and Xavier. If Central Michigan can win a couple of these games, then another change may have to be considered.
3. Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-0) -- LW: 3
Last week: No games.
This week: Marygrove (11/30)
EMU has a very light November schedule and did not play at all last week. Nothing much to see here. Akron and Toledo are charging, though, so the Eagles will need to dispatch lower-division foe Marygrove with ease to keep their ranking.
4. Akron Zips (3-2) -- LW: 4
Last week: at Canisius (W, 77-56)
This week: at Cal Poly (11/29), vs California-Davis (11/30, at Cal Poly)
Akron stays put this week after taking care of business against the Golden Griffins. They have what could be a difficult cross-country trip during the holiday weekend but should be expected to win both games.
5. Toledo Rockets (2-2) -- LW: 5
Last week: at Missouri-Kansas City (W, 96-81)
This week: SMC Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic (Moraga, Calif.) -- vs Cal St.-Fullerton (11/29), at Saint Mary's (11/30)
See the comment about Akron? This is essentially cut-and-paste. Toledo took care of business on the road against a lesser opponent and now goes on a cross-country holiday road trip. As with the Zips, the Rockets are talented enough to win both games.
6. Ball State Cardinals (1-3) -- LW: 6
Last week: at Evansville (L, 80-69), at Detroit (W, 80-74)
This week: South Point Shootout (Las Vegas, Nev.) -- vs Auburn (11/29), vs Tennessee Tech (11/30)
The Cardinals had a mixed bag last week, so we can't move them up. However, they didn't do anything to deserve being moved down. Splitting two road games against other mid-major competition is what we would expect from a team in the middle of our rankings. This week, Ball State has an opportunity to move up with a cross-country trip of their own. They should beat Tennessee Tech, and the game against Auburn will be a very good test to see just how good the Cardinals can be.
7. Ohio Bobcats (3-1) -- LW: 7
Last week: at Louisville (L, 90-33), at Eastern Kentucky (W, 60-52)
This week: San Juan Shootout (San Juan, Puerto Rico) -- vs Illinois-Chicago (11/29), vs Maryland (11/30)
If Akron and Toledo's situations were very similar, so are those of Ball State and Ohio. Both teams split last week, and both teams have neutral-site tournaments this week that include one game against a power-conference team and another very winnable game against another mid-major. In Ohio's case, the Bobcats got steamrolled against Louisville, as many teams have, but they rebounded nicely with a win at Eastern Kentucky. Again, no reason here to move Ohio up or down. The Bobcats should be able to beat UIC and have an opportunity to make a statement against Maryland.
8. Buffalo Bulls (2-2) -- LW: 8
Last week: at Duquesne (L, 78-55)
This week: Canisius (11/27), at Pittsburgh (12/1)
The Bulls had a disappointing road loss last week at Duquesne but has a chance to rebound on Wednesday with a home date against Canisius. They'll need to win that match-up, because they follow that with a difficult road trip to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
9. Northern Illinois Huskies (2-2) -- LW: 10
Last week: Bradley (W, 63-60)
This week: Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic (Las Cruces, N.M.) -- at New Mexico State (11/29), vs Lamar (11/30)
Northern Illinois earned one of the few wins produced by the bottom of our rankings last week. Getting a home win over a Missouri Valley Conference team is a nice little feather in the cap for the Huskies, and it should serve to boost the team's momentum as they head to New Mexico for the holiday weekend. An opportunity to move up the ladder exists here with two winnable games -- especially the Saturday contest against Lamar.
10. Western Michigan Broncos (2-4) -- LW: 9
Last week: at Tulsa (L, 60-59), at Arkansas (L, 61-46)
This week: at Chicago State (12/1)
You can't really fault Western Michigan for losing two games last week, as they faced very difficult road tests at Tulsa and Arkansas. However, with NIU winning their only game of the week, we had to make a switch. The Broncos are off until Sunday, when they play at Chicago State. This will be one of those games that even teams at the bottom of the MAC ought to win rather handily.
11. Miami RedHawks (1-3) -- LW: 12
Last week: at Illinois-Chicago (L, 76-66)
This week: Duquesne (11/26), Florida State (12/1)
Miami moves out of the basement more because of what our new basement-dwellers did to move there than what Miami did to move up. The RedHawks lost their only game of the week at UIC and did so in a less-than-competitive fashion. Miami fell behind 32-9 after just 13 minutes and, although they eventually cut the lead to as little as 5, never really threatened to win. The RedHawks are the only team in the conference to have two home games this week, but both will be very difficult. Duquesne beat Buffalo last week, and Florida State visits from the ACC.
12. Kent State Golden Flashes (1-4) -- LW: 11
Last week: at Arkansas State (L, 92-61), at Belmont (L, 84-60)
This week: David Jones Classic (Houston, Texas) -- at Houston (11/30), vs Stephen F. Austin (12/1)
When your only win is at home by one point (in overtime) over Eastern Kentucky and when you just finished a week in which you lost by 31 (to Arkansas State) and by 24 (to Belmont), there's only one place you can be on our list. Things don't get any easier for Kent State this week, with games against Stephen F. Austin and Houston.