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MAC Women's Basketball Power Rankings: Week 6

Each week, we'll rank your favorite MAC women's basketball teams. Who has moved up? Who has moved down? Find out right here.

There were only six games across the Mid-American Conference last week, so not much has changed since last Tuesday.  However, we did pull the trigger on one move.  It may appear controversial, but the bump is well-deserved.

The upcoming week features 22 games, and every team but Toledo and Ohio plays twice.  So, expect more movement next Tuesday.

With that said...on with the rankings!

1. Bowling Green Falcons (8-1) -- LW: 1

Last week: NO GAMES (Game versus Massachusetts on 12/15 was postponed)

This week: Massachusetts (12/19), at Purdue (12/22)

Bowling Green was scheduled to play Massachusetts on Sunday, but UMass ran into some travel difficulties due to the winter storm that struck the region during the weekend.  That contest has been rescheduled for Thursday afternoon.  It doesn't appear that UMass will present much of a challenge for BGSU.  They should be just another bump in the road as the Fallcons steamroll toward conference play.  The real thing to watch with the Falcons this week is their game at Purdue on Sunday.  Can the Falcons finish their Big Ten schedule 3-0?

2. Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-1) -- LW: 3

Last week: at Michigan (L, 89-75), at Detroit (W, 104-96)

This week: (at Stony Brook Tournament) vs Wagner (12/21), vs Monmouth (12/22)

Yes, I did it.  It's time.  I might have liked Eastern Michigan to play a little closer to Michigan, but that game (which wasn't a runaway) was only their first loss of the year.  They also followed that with a win at Detroit.  The Eagles are young and immensely talented.  With that youth, they'll likely experience some growing pains during conference play, but there's one inescapable fact about them so far -- they've played more consistently and risen to more challenges than all but one other MAC team so far.  At 7-1, they deserve this spot.

3. Central Michigan Chippewas (3-5) -- LW: 2

Last week: at South Dakota State (L, 87-82)

This week: Prairie View A&M (12/18), at Notre Dame (12/22)

Given how murderous their schedule has been so far, it really doesn't seem fair to penalize Central Michigan, but at some point, you have to win games.  They gave a gallant effort against a very talented South Dakota State team, but let's be honest -- without some Reggie Miller-esque heroics by Crystal Bradford against Dayton, this would be a 2-6 team.  I have no doubt that they'll be one of the top teams in the MAC when conference play begins, but these rankings have to reflect what's happening now, not what we think will happen in one or two months.

CMU should get a big win tomorrow against a winless Prairie View teams.  After that, it's another daunting challenge at 9-0 Notre Dame.  The Fighting Irish have won all but one of their games by at least 15 points and have wins over three other ranked teams.

4. Toledo Rockets (5-4) -- LW: 4

Last week: at St. Bonaventure (W, 64-62)

This week: Dayton (12/22)

Toledo gutted out an impressive win over St. Bonaventure last week.  Could it save their season?  That remains to be determined, but the Rockets certainly have a chance to build on that win with a home game against Dayton on Sunday.  The Flyers have had a very difficult non-conference schedule and suffered a devastating last-second loss at Central Michigan at the beginning of December.  However, Dayton responded with a good ten-point win at home over Washington State.

5. Ball State Cardinals (3-5) -- LW: 5

Last week: at Wyoming (L, 71-51)

This week: Louisville (12/17), at Northern Kentucky (12/21)

I was very tempted to move Ball State down after losing by 20 at Wyoming, but then I remember what was said in this space last week:

"Ball State's next game is back on the road at Wyoming.  Wyoming is 6-2 this year.  While they don't have any stand-out wins thus far, they did take #11 Colorado to the limit before falling 63-59 last Wednesday."

So, while I don't typically like 20-point losses (even on the road), I'm willing to excuse it.  This is especially true when the teams below the Cardinals didn't play at all.

Tonight's home game with Louisville does not promise to be pretty.  The "other" Cardinals are 10-1, with only a five-point loss to then-#7 Kentucky on their slate.  They're a powerhouse on offense, as they've scored at least 88 points in eight of their 11 games.  Louisville has already broken the triple-digit barrier three times.  The road trip to Northern Kentucky should be much more telling about Ball State.  NKU beat Cincinnati to open the season but is just 3-5 since, and that includes a loss at home to MIami.

6. Akron Zips (4-4) -- LW: 6

Last week: NO GAMES

This week: at Cincinnati (12/17), Rochester College (12/20)

Akron seemed to find themselves in their 88-70 win over George Mason two weeks ago, but they'll have to be at the top of their game tonight when they play at Cincinnati.  the Bearcats didn't start the season so well themselves, but they've won three in a row, including a very impressive 15-point win over Ohio State.  After the trip to Cincinnati, the Zips get a must-win gimme against Rochester College.

7. Buffalo Bulls (5-3) -- LW: 7

Last week: NO GAMES

This week: at St. Bonaventure (12/17), at Niagara (12/21)

The Bulls have looked good and not-so-good at times this season, and they have two difficult road games ahead of them this week.  St. Bonaventure has been no pushover for anyone in an 8-4 start and just lost to Toledo by only two.  Niagara has lost big to both Bowling Green and Kent State; however, the Purple Eagles are 2-1 at home and won their most recent game by 11 over Robert Morris.

8. Northern Illinois Huskies (4-3) -- LW: 8

Last week: NO GAMES

This week: at South Dakota State (12/17), Northern Iowa (12/21)

Northern Illinois has an up-and-down week ahead of them.  First, they have to go on the road to face a South Dakota State team that has beaten Green Bay, #12 Penn State and Central Michigan in their last three games.  NIU has fared relatively well in road tests this year, but this one will probably be their toughest road game yet.  After that, they face Northern Iowa at home.  Northern Iowa is just 3-7, and the Huskies' early returns would indicate that they should win this game.  Expect a split of the two games.

9. Ohio Bobcats (4-4) -- LW: 9

Last week: Notre Dame College (W, 72-55)

This week: at East Carolina (12/20)

The Bobcats rebounded from their loss at Cleveland State by taking care of business against Notre Dame College.  Now, they have to go on the road to face East Carolina just three days before the football teams from the two schools meet in the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl.  The Pirates are 8-1 but lost their most recent game, 86-76 against Grand Canyon.

10. Miami RedHawks (3-5) -- LW: 10

Last week: NO GAMES

This week: at Long Beach State (12/17), at San Diego State (12/19)

Miami built quite a bit of momentum with back-to-back road wins two weeks ago, but now the RedHawks have to travel much farther for two more road tilts.  Long Beach State is 5-4 but lost their most recent game at home to San Diego by 17 points.  San Diego State has won just one game all season, but they've been very close in several losses.  Outside of two blowouts against ranked teams, the Aztecs' four other losses were by a combined 10 points.  That includes a four-point loss at USC and a one-point loss to UCLA.  This week ought to tell us a lot about exactly where Miami is.

11. Western Michigan Broncos (3-5) -- LW: 11

Last week: NO GAMES

This week: Illinois-Chicago (12/18), Oakland (12/22)

The Broncos have had several days to stew over a home loss to IUPUI and now get two chances for redemption at home this week.  UIC has rebounded very well from an embarrassing opening loss to an NAIA team by winning their last six.  That includes wins over Miami and Ohio, as well as a true road win over Butler.  Oakland is 2-7, but that is a bit deceiving -- Oakland's schedule has included games against Tennessee, Michigan State, Miami (Fla.), Indiana and Central Florida.  These will be two difficult games, so a split would be pretty good.  However, a sweep of the two would be a big step forward.

12. Kent State Golden Flashes (3-6) -- LW: 12

Last week: NO GAMES

This week: Massachusetts (12/17), St. Bonaventure (12/20)

After getting a week off, Kent State continues their long stretch of home games with two more this week.  Massachusetts is just 2-7 and hasn't really looked good much this season.  They opened with back-to-back losses to Western Michigan and Central Michigan.  Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure is much better.  The Bonnies beat Green Bay early in the season and took Toledo to the limit.  Their only other losses are to North Carolina State, Connecticut and mid-major power Marist.  Take what I just said above about MIami and repeat it here -- a split would be a good result, and a sweep would be a big step forward.