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MAC Basketball Power Rankings: The Quarter Mark

Four games in, how are all the teams doing?


There are 16 MAC games and we're through four. You can do the math: it's a pretty good time to take the temperature of all teams and see where we're at.

Much credence will be borrowed from the first four MAC games, with tiebreakers and placement based on whim leaning on their nonconference record.

1. Akron (LR: 1) 13-4 (4-0) RPI: 63 KenPom: 48 BBState: 47

Could be lower, but: their winning streak remains at an impressive nine games and their MAC accomplishments outweigh OHIO's by virtue of winning an additional game on the road.

2. Ohio (LR: 2) 13-5 (4-0) RPI: 130 KenPom: 75 BBState: 68

Could be higher, but: their rebounding numbers are not just worse than Akron's, but some of the worst in the country. In their four MAC wins they've been outrebounded each time, and only five times all year have they had more total rebounds than their opponent.

Could be lower, but: I don't think there's any question the Bobcats have the top offense in the league. The calm, steady force known as D.J. Cooper is doing his thing: 13 points, over seven assists, over two steals and almost four rebounds a game in MAC play. Reggie Keely is staying at home so well in the post, making two-thirds of his shots and averaging about 16 points per MAC game.

3. Western Michigan (LR: 3) 10-7 (2-2) RPI: 107 KenPom: 115 BBState: 107

Could be higher, but: those darned losses.

Could be lower, but: of all the other 2-2 teams, WMU is the only one who played Akron and OHIO — and they nearly took that Bobcats game. They weren't bad in the first half against Akron either. And the play of Shayne Whittington has been fabulous through the first four (nine points/10 rebounds per contest). And considering who they've played, to have the top defensive points allowed per possession (0.817) is incredibly impressive.

4. Kent State (LR: 4) 11-7 (2-2) RPI: 174 KenPom: 114 BBState: 163

Could be higher, but: WMU had a higher quality loss (Ohio vs. KSU's loss to Toledo) and Toledo straight up . And for some reason they're not shooting the ball as good as they've been all season.

Could be lower, but: Chris Evans won't let them. Nearly 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals has helped keep this team afloat.

5. Toledo (LR: 7) 6-9 (2-2) RPI: 203 KenPom: 172 BBState: 185

Could be higher, but: despite beating the team directly above them on the road ... gander at that record. The Kent State win was their best of the year, but they need more of that.

Could be lower, but: the win over CMU, for now, will have to do. I have a hard time even putting them this high, but few other teams have stepped up to assert themselves, and that's what happens when two teams separate themselves and everybody else is 2-2 or worse. But they're playing like a smart team in MAC play, making their free throws and keeping the turnovers to a minimum.

6. Central Michigan (LR: 5) 9-8 (2-2) RPI: 139 KenPom: 187 BBState: 149

Could be higher, but: despite an easy first four games, they have two losses and nearly lost to BGSU despite a blown 23-point second-half lead. To suffice, they have issues closing.

Could be lower, but: Kyle Randall is more than they asked for. He's scoring 21 points per MAC game and also hitting his free throws at over a 90 percent rate. And for all their flaws, the entire team is doing well on the offensive side: over a point per possession is second among MAC teams.

7. Eastern Michigan (LR: 8) 9-9 (2-2) RPI: 215 KenPom: 281 BBState: 197

Could be higher, but: Despite beating the team directly above them, they've suffered two bad losses — the only wins for Ball State and BGSU in the MAC, actually.

Could be lower, but: They beat Miami (finally!) and we may have located a pulse in their offensive production. It's amazing how much better they look when not getting whomped by teams like Kentucky, Syracuse and Michigan. If there was a pause for concern on this, it's that their 3-point shooting is listed at 44 percent through four MAC games. I don't think they can keep that up.

8. Miami (OH) (LR: 6) 7-9 (2-2) RPI: 219 KenPom: 254 BBState: 196

Could be higher, but: They lost to Northern Illinois at home. I can't defend that, good sirs.

Could be lower, but: At least they have two wins, and that's more than their southernmost foes can boast. They also tout Will Felder, who's starting to find his rhythm as a scorer. He's totaled at least 10 points in his last seven, averaging almost 15 per MAC game and also leading them in rebounds and blocks.

9. Ball State (LR: 9) 7-9 (1-3) RPI: 224 KenPom: 264 BBState: 223

Could be higher, but: they have just the one MAC victory.

Could be lower, but: they've played a tough schedule, admittedly, and their lone victory among the one-victory MAC teams is the most impressive (EMU). And it doesn't mean much if they still can't knock down shots, but the Cardinals remain one of the top rebounding teams in the conference. Much of that can be attributed to Majok Majok, who is also one of their primary scorers, but is averaging a double double in four MAC games — nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds per game)

10. Buffalo (LR: 10) 6-12 (1-3) RPI: 227 KenPom: 209 BBState: 275

Could be higher, but: SUNY-Buffalo's cloning technology is not where it should be, because five Javon McCrea would be heavenly. In MAC play he's recklessly averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds, over three blocks and two assists per contest. THEY'VE LOST THREE OF THOSE GAMES.

Could be lower, but: they beat the team directly below them, even if barely.

11. Bowling Green (LR: 11) 6-11 (1-3) RPI: 295 KenPom: 216 BBState: 245

Could be higher, but: beyond leaning on A'uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford, the team still has yet to find its identity. Maybe that is exactly who they are: a two-horse team riding its covered wagon through the MAC East, hoping to run into some friendly victories.

Could be lower, but: Northern Illinois re-joined the conference in 1997.

12. Northern Illinois (LR: 12) 3-13 (1-3) RPI: 297 KenPom: 318 BBState: 317

Could be higher, but: shooting a basketball is hard. That's basically it. What's killing this team — as it would any team — is a pretty simple diagnosis: they're bad at shooting the basketball. Their eFG on the season is right around 40 percent, one of the five worst in Division I, and it's even worse in their first four MAC games: 37.3 percent. A bright spot for NIU is 6'6" freshman Darrell Bowie, averaging nearly nine points, five rebounds and over a steal per game in MAC play.