Well, we keep trying to put a team at the number one spot in our power rankings, but they can't seem to stay there. Last week's #1 Toledo lost badly on Saturday at Eastern Michigan and didn't look even close to the top team in the conference. The standings are sort of a mess; there are three teams at 9-3, two teams at 8-4, and four teams at 5-7. That being said, let's try to throw something together resembling a power ranking.
1. Western Michigan Broncos (16-8, 9-3), LW: 5
Last week: Akron (W), Miami (W)
This week: at Ohio (2/19), Eastern Michigan (2/23)
Well, let's try the Broncos. They've beaten Toledo, Ohio, and now Akron, and have moved into the top spot in the conference standings. Shayne Whittington and David Brown are playing like first-team all-conference right now but they'll need to keep that up as they face another tough week. The game against Ohio is huge and will be payback for the Bobcats. Western Michigan was embarrassed earlier in the year by Eastern Michigan, so that is a revenge game as well. Of course, knowing how well this number one ranking holds up, I'm sure the Broncos will lose to Ohio.
2. Toledo Rockets (21-4, 9-3), LW: 1
Last week: Ohio (W), at Eastern Michigan (L)
This week: at Bowling Green (2/20), Ball State (2/23)
The Rockets couldn't keep the momentum going from their big win over Ohio and promptly were smacked around by Eastern Michigan. It was by far their worst game of the year, and if that performance becomes a trend Toledo could be in danger of losing a top four seed. They get two fairly easy games this week though, but the trip to Bowling Green isn't going to be a walkover.
3. Ohio Bobcats (18-7, 8-4), LW: 2
Last week: at Toledo (L), at Buffalo (W)
This week: Western Michigan (2/19), at Akron (2/22)
I said last week in the power rankings that the Toledo and Buffalo game were probably the two most important games of the season, and while Ohio didn't win both they at least split. That puts them ahead of Buffalo in the pecking order and gives the Bobcats an edge over the Bulls when it comes to seeding. The big games just keep coming, as this week the 'Cats get Western Michigan and home and travel to Akron which is always a huge game. Nothing will be easy from here on out for Ohio.
4. Akron Zips (17-8, 9-3), LW: 3
Last week: at Western Michigan (L), Northern Illinois (W)
This week: at Buffalo (2/19), Ohio (2/22)
The Zips lost to the Broncos for the first time since 2008, and while it wasn't a bad loss it didn't help in terms of winning the regular season championship. The win over Northern Illinois wasn't easy, but was a win nonetheless. Akron's biggest week of the season comes this week, as they need to beat Buffalo to stay on top of the East standings. They're also in a battle with the Bulls (and Ohio) for the top four seeds in the conference tournament. If Akron can't get it done this week, there is a very realistic chance the Zips won't have a top four seed.
5. Eastern Michigan (15-10, 7-5), LW: 6
Last week: at Ball State (W), Toledo (W)
This week: at Northern Illinois (2/20), at Western Michigan (2/23)
The Eagles were the only team other than Western Michigan to win both games last week. The win over Ball State was needed and the shellacking of Toledo was a nice surprise. Two road games await Eastern Michigan this week and if the Eagles want to be a player in the conference race they need to win both. This team isn't dead yet, but they can't afford any more bad losses.
6. Buffalo Bulls (14-8, 8-4), LW: 4
Last week: at Miami (W), Ohio (L)
This week: Akron (2/19), at Kent State (2/22)
We learned a lot about Buffalo last week, as they were able to pick up a nice road win at Miami but couldn't hold on to a late ten point lead against Ohio. The Bulls hadn't played Ohio (or Akron) yet, so the home loss to Ohio hurts. If they lose to Akron at home, the Bulls could be headed in a tailspin as they still have games at Ohio and at Akron to go. However, if they were to beat Akron, they're right back in it in terms of getting a top four seed.
7. Kent State Golden Flashes (14-11, 5-7), LW: 10
Last week: Bowling Green (W), Central Michigan (W)
This week: at Miami (2/19), Buffalo (2/22)
Maybe we were too quick to write off the Flashes. Kent State bounced back with two home wins this week, albeit against subpar competition in Bowling Green and Central Michigan. They are wins though, and Kent State is the best 5-7 team in the conference right now. They have the potential to beat anybody but also can lose to any team as well. The game against Miami is huge for seeding.
8. Northern Illinois Huskies (11-13, 5-7), LW: 7
Last week: Central Michigan (W), at Akron (L)
This week: Eastern Michigan (2/20), at Central Michigan (2/23)
The Huskies picked up a much needed win over the Chips but couldn't get it done against Akron. They're playing better but just do not have enough talent to beat the top tier teams. The Huskies can probably seal a first round home game in the tournament with two wins this week.
9. Bowling Green Falcons (11-14, 5-7), LW: 9
Last week: at Kent State (L), at Ball State (W)
This week: Toledo (2/20), at Miami (2/23)
The Falcons split this week, but really could have won both after Kent State beat them on a last-second three. They also could have lost both as Ball State had a look at the win at the buzzer. I feel like I've had the Falcons at nine since the start of the season; they just can't seem to pick up enough good wins to move up. If they can beat Toledo though, they'll move up.
10. Miami RedHawks (9-14, 5-7), LW: 8
Last week: Buffalo (L), at Western Michigan (L)
This week: Kent State (2/19), Bowling Green (2/23)
The slide continues for the RedHawks as they have lost the last four games since starting out 5-3. The string of tough opponents stops though, as fellow 5-7ers Kent State and Bowling Green visit Millett Hall.
11. Ball State Cardinals (4-19, 1-11), LW: 11
Last week: Eastern Michigan (L), Bowling Green (L)
This week: at Central Michigan (2/19), at Toledo (2/23)
Who's excited for Ball State-Central Michigan on Wednesday? Woooo!
12. Central Michigan Chippewas (8-16, 1-11), LW: 12
Last week: at Northern Illinois (L), at Kent State (L)
This week: Ball State (2/19), Northern Illinois (2/23)
At least this week brings some chances for wins. The Chips are better than their record but just cannot get victories.