Well folks the season is finally here. Eastern Michigan kicks off the season Friday at Noon against Albion College. Woo!
Let's get to the rankings:
1. Akron Zips
When you are picked to win the conference by a wide margin, you get the number one spot. It's hard to argue the Zips not being here, even with the loss of Zeke Marshall, Alex Abreu, Brian Walsh and Chauncey Gilliam. Akron is deep and Demetrius Treadwell is quite possibly the best player in the league.
Next game: November 8th vs. Coastal Carolina
So that exhibition game was a little interesting. It took the Rockets overtime and a buzzer beater to beat Division II Hillsdale. They'll be fine, I'm sure. Juice Brown and Rian Pearson are phenomenal basketball players. Transfers J.D. Weatherspoon and Justin Drummond have great potential, and don't sleep on Nathan Boothe.
Next game: November 9th vs. Northwestern Ohio
Buffalo didn't play an exhibition this season, so we don't have anything to base this on other than last year. Javon McCrea has NBA potential and Jarod Oldham returns after missing last year due to injury. This is Bobby Hurley's first year as a head coach, so it'll be interesting to see how he transitions into that role.
Next game: November 8th at Texas A&M
4. Ohio Bobcats
Ohio loses a lot but still has a solid group of players. The Bobcats will rely on transfers Javarez Willis and Treg Setty, as well as Junior College transfer Maurice Ndour. Nick Kellogg, T.J. Hall, Ricardo Johnson, Jon Smith and Stevie Taylor are all back and should provide many meaningful minutes this year.
Next game: November 9th vs. Northern Iowa
Eastern Michigan is a team that could jump up to #3 or fall down to #7. A solid nucleus returns in Glenn Bryant, Daylen Harrison and Da'Shonte Riley, and transfer Mike Talley will be a natural fit at point guard. Rob Murphy is a good coach but needs to start showing some progess in Ypsilanti.
Next game: November 8th vs. Albion
6. Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent State lost only two players from last year, but they were the top two scorers on the team. It will be Kris Brewer's team, and Darren Goodson will lead the charge in the paint. Rob Senderoff also brought in some quality transfers in Derek Jackson and K.K. Simmons.
Next game: November 8th vs. Ohio Northern
Western Michigan didn't lose a lot but fall because of what others gained. Shayne Whittington is a beast inside and David Brown can light it up on the perimeter. The bench is unproven and they'll need to find a way to replace Darius Paul's high scoring average.
Next game: November 8th vs. New Mexico State (in Hawaii)
8. Ball State Cardinals
James Whitford's first season on the bench may be a tough one, as it was just announced senior Matt Kamieniecki will miss the season due to a wrist injury. But Majok Majok returns, as does Chris Bond and Jesse Berry. Those three will take the Cardinals as deep as they can into the conference season, but after them there isn't much else. Zavier Turner may have the talent to be the freshman of the year in the MAC.
Next game: November 9th at Indiana State
From here on down it's sort of a crapshoot. None of these teams will be very good, but have the chance to play spoiler every night. The Falcons lost the most of any MAC team this year in A'uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford, but return Chauncey Orr and Richaun Holmes. Louis Orr's contract is up after this year, and it's tough to see him sticking around after another rough season.
Next game: November 9th vs. Earlham
I like what the Chips are building in Mt. Pleasant. After years of stagnation under Ernie Zeigler, Keno Davis finally looks to be leading the Chips in the right direction. They're not out of the cellar yet, but they're getting there.
Next game: November 8th vs. Manchester
11. Miami RedHawks
It's going to be another down year in Oxford, as six players transferred from last year's team. Add into that the loss of Willie Moore for the first nine games of the season and this could get ugly. John Cooper has had success on the recruiting trail and the future prospects for the RedHawks are positive.
Next game: November 8th at Notre Dame
12. Northern Illinois
It'll be tough for me to move the Huskies from this spot this year. Mark Montgomery just can't seem to keep any talent in DeKalb, much less bring any in to begin with. If the Huskies win ten games this year, it'll be a minor miracle.
Next game: November 8th vs. Nebraska-Omaha
More from Hustle Belt:
- MAC Basketball Top 25 - Best of the Rest
- Ball State Trounces Central Michigan 44-24
- MAC Official Releases Statement Following Tuesday Nights Blown Calls In Ohio vs. Buffalo Game
- Eastern Michigan vs Western Michigan Preview: The Michigan MAC Opener
- Ohio vs. Buffalo Final: The Bulls Dominated On Tuesday Night #MACtion