If you haven't been paying attention — or just dismiss the sport altogether because of the gender — the Mid-American Conference has themselves a pretty darn strong conference top to bottom. Or at least the top four. Consider: the MAC is 11th in RPI, including four teams in the top 100 and two in the top 50.
Bowling Green won this conferences despite not having to play Toledo in the final, and they lost to the Rockets in the regular season. They split the season with Kent State, but they didn't face them either. Instead, they faced a fifth team, Eastern Michigan, who was oh so close to making a storied tournament run. The conference is stacked, and the Falcons won it for the second time in a row, and going to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years.
They did it this year as a No. 2 seed, which deviated from previous years when they won the MAC outright and just blasted through the season. This year, that wasn't the case. They had to work a bit harder, because while Lauren Prochaska can be the best player in the conference when she wants to, there was far more competition. Kourtney Brown was the MACPOY, Eastern Michigan and Kent State had more First- and Second-Team players than the Falcons.
But behind the play of Prochaska and Tracy Pontius, whose transition no-look behind-the-back pass to Prochaska was the game-changer in the second half, they found a way to weather the depth of the conference and they're going back to the NCAAs.
ESPN's Women's Bracketology says that Bowling Green is likely to be the 13-seed and could face Michigan State, which would be a rematch of last year's first-round game where MSU won by 10 points. So you KNOW it's going to go swimmingly this time.
As for Eastern Michigan, this tournament run really elevated their profile in the conference, and with another year out of Tavelyn James ... watch out, this team could be even better next year.