Tonight starts the first round of the MAC Tournament, which is really hard to believe. We will know who'll represent the MAC in the Big Dance on Saturday night and the week will be sure to have some surprises. Let's get to the rankings:
1. Western Michigan Broncos (21-9, 14-4), LW: 1
RPI: 89 / Ken Pom: 133
Last week: Northern Illinois (W 61-56), at Central Michigan (W 78-64)
This week: TBD
The Broncos locked up the one seed with two wins this week, although they weren't easy. Northern Illinois has become a thorn in the side of their opponents the past few games and Western Michigan had to use the full forty minutes to put them away. The Broncos were down by five at halftime to the Chips but came out firing in the second half, scoring 45 points to Central Michigan's 26. As the top seed, the Broncos won't know their opponent until Thursday night. They'll likely get the winner of the Akron/Ohio game, and Western Michigan is 3-0 against those teams this season.
2. Toledo Rockets (26-5, 14-4), LW: 2
RPI: 38 / Ken Pom: 107
Last week: at Central Michigan (W 73-69), Eastern Michigan (W 77-66)
This week: TBD
The Rockets finished up a regular season co-championship with two wins over Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Like Western Michigan, Toledo won't know their opponent until late Thursday night after getting a triple-bye in the MAC Tournament. It'll likely be Buffalo or Eastern Michigan/Northern Illinois and the Rockets have already lost this year to both the Eagles and Huskies.
3. Buffalo Bulls (19-9, 13-3), LW: 3
RPI: 95 / Ken Pom: 99
Last week: at Akron (L 83-71), Bowling Green (W 88-65)
This week: TBD
Even though the Bulls lost at Akron, they still managed to lock up the number three seed and their first-ever MAC East title with the win over Bowling Green. Buffalo will likely play the winner of the Eastern Michigan/Northern Illinois game in the quarterfinals. Against those two teams, Buffalo won both games.
4. Akron Zips (20-11, 12-6), LW: 4
RPI: 100 / Ken Pom: 140
Last week: Buffalo (W 83-71), Kent State (W 58-54)
This week: TBD
Akron did what they needed to do this week in winning both games against Buffalo and Kent State to give them the fourth seed and a double-bye into the quarterfinals. Akron gets the winner of the Ohio/Ball State/Kent State/Miami pod in the quarterfinals. Akron has lost a game to each of the MAC East teams in that pod, so the quarterfinal game won't be easy.
5. Ohio Bobcats (21-10, 11-7), LW: 5
RPI: 79 / Ken Pom: 122
Last week: at Bowling Green (W 72-61), at Miami (W 82-76 OT)
This week: vs. #12 Ball State (Monday), vs. #8 Kent State/#9 Miami (Wednesday)
Ohio needed to win both games and have Akron lose to get the fourth seed, but both teams held up their end of the deal. The Bobcats handled Bowling Green on the road but needed overtime to put away Miami. Ohio has soundly beaten Ball State both times this season, so they shouldn't have any trouble advancing.
6. Eastern Michigan Eagles (18-13, 10-8), LW: 6
RPI: 87 / Ken Pom: 116
Last week: Ball State (W 72-58), at Toledo (L 77-66)
This week: vs. #11 Central Michigan (Monday), vs. #7 Northern Illinois/#10 Bowling Green (Wednesday)
Eastern Michigan finished out their season with a win over Ball State but couldn't keep up with Toledo in a loss. The Eagles get Central Michigan tonight who they have soundly beaten both times this year. They should be hoping to play Bowling Green in the next round; the Eagles' games against the Huskies have included a two point overtime loss and a four point win.
7. Northern Illinois Huskies (14-16, 8-10), LW: 7
RPI: 202 / Ken Pom: 204
Last week: at Western Michigan (L 61-56), Ball State (W 70-56)
This week: vs. #10 Bowling Green (Monday), vs. #6 Eastern Michigan/#11 Central Michigan (Wednesday)
The Huskies wrapped up their regular season with a close loss to Western Michigan and a needed win over Ball State. This season has been a breakthrough one for the Huskies as they came close to having a .500 record for the first time in awhile. They've already beaten BG once this year and have taken Eastern Michigan down to the wire each time. It wouldn't surprise me to see Northern Illinois in the quarterfinals playing against Buffalo in Cleveland.
8. Miami RedHawks (12-17, 8-10), LW: 8
RPI: 155 / Ken Pom: 214
Last week: at Kent State (W 73-61), Ohio (L 82-76 OT)
This week: vs. #9 Kent State (Monday), vs. #5 Ohio/#12 Ball State (Wednesday)
Miami picked up a much-needed win over Kent State that gave them the ability to host a first round tournament game against those same Flashes. Each team won at each other's home court, so this game tonight will be fun to watch.
9. Kent State Golden Flashes (16-15, 7-11), LW: 9
RPI: 194 / Ken Pom: 189
Last week: Miami (L 73-61), at Akron (L 58-54)
This week: at #8 Miami (Monday), vs. #5 Ohio/#12 Ball State (Wednesday)
It wasn't a good week for the Flashes as they dropped both games and now have to travel for their first round tournament game. Going into the tournament as losers of four of their last five doesn't bode well for their chances of advancing far in the tournament.
10. Bowling Green Falcons (12-19, 6-12), LW: 10
RPI: 183 / Ken Pom: 217
Last week: Ohio (L 72-61), at Buffalo (L 88-65)
This week: at #7 Northern Illinois (Monday), vs. #6 Eastern Michigan/#11 Central Michigan (Wednesday)
Bowling Green is also riding a losing streak into the tournament, only winning one of their last six games. It looks like this will be the end of the road for both the Falcons and Louis Orr, whose won/loss record the past few seasons just isn't cutting it.
11. Ball State Cardinals (5-24, 2-16), LW: 11
RPI: 309 / Ken Pom: 308
Last week: at Eastern Michigan (L 72-58), at Northern Illinois (L 70-56)
This week: at #5 Ohio (Monday), vs. #8 Kent State/#9Miami (Wednesday)
Well Cardinals fans, at least the worst season in Ball State basketball history will be over tonight.
12. Central Michigan Chippewas (10-20, 3-15) LW: 12
RPI: 294 / Ken Pom: 286
Last week: Toledo (L 73-69), Western Michigan (L 78-64)
This week: at #6 Eastern Michigan (Monday), vs. #7 Northern Illinois/#10 Bowling Green (Wednesday)
At least they didn't finish in last.