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MAC Women’s Basketball Power Rankings, 1/15/2017

Hustle Belt is bringing back women’s shootyhoops coverage, with a vengeance

Central Michigan womens hoops

First, a little back story.

Some readers asked when we were going to break out our women’s coverage. To be frank, I originally had no intention of doing so. The main guys who covered in years past had moved on or have limited their roles here. I personally have no real vested interest in any one women’s team.

After some more interest from our readers, I decided to check out a game on Wednesday. I picked Ohio vs. Akron for no real reason other than that is the men’s game I am most interested in.

I was quickly reminded of what I love about women’s college basketball.

One, they are more fundamentally sound than their male counterparts. At least in some areas that are of importance to me. They tend to help better on D, and they can shoot better, at least from the line and beyond the arc.

Two, they seem to care more. Maybe it is just the differences in the game, but it sure seems to me they hit the floor more chasing after loose balls than their male counterparts. They also seem to do it with more sportsmanship. I see them help up their opponents up more often, and close games don’t seem to get chippy near as often.

That’s not meant as a knock on the men’s game, it’s just my personal observations on what I like about the women’s game compared to the men.

Since Wednesday night, I have watched 6 games, either live or via replay. That doesn’t make me an expert by any stretch, but I do think it’s a testament to the vigor with which I am going to start covering the women’s game. That being said, I still haven’t seen Buffalo or Miami.

I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on this power rankings, at least where the teams are positioned. It’s basically just a rehash of the RPI rankings, but believe you me, we'll start getting pretty serious about the rankings next week.

I’ll throw in my two cents, from the perspective of what little I have watched and the research that I have done. And that’s where this particular power ranking means a lot.

Covering MAC sports is hard. I was shocked to find out how little information is kept about these games in particular. The resources just aren’t there that are there for the bigger programs. And the pro sports? Forget about it. I could probably find the rectal temperature of LeBron James on road trips after eating squid if I looked hard enough.

These women deserve more coverage. We are going to give that to them.

Starting now, we are doing a weekly power rankings. Next week, it will include a vote from the Hustle Belt team. Going forward, the rankings will come out every Sunday. On Tuesdays and Fridays, we will put out a preview of the action, and we will then do a daily recap.

We need your help. Make sure you tell your friends what we are doing.

Tweet it, shout it, Facebook it, do what you need to do. These young ladies deserve it.

There is another way you can lend us a helping hand. Ally Lehman, of Northern Illinois, is bald. There is a great story behind that. Trey Burke’s sister plays for OU. That’s also an interesting story. Point us in the direction of other interesting stories from the women’s game. If all that seems like a shameless plea to help us do our jobs, it is.

What I'm saying is that it’s a team game, just like women’s hoops. It takes a village to raise up MAC women’s coverage.

So without further ado, our very first 2017 MAC women’s basketball power rankings:

12. Eastern Michigan Eagles

271 in the RPI. I have watched them twice now, and they are a men’s team. At least the bad part of a men’s team. Athletic, and can run. At times they play well. However, there is little cohesion, which is surprising for a team that starts so many juniors and seniors.

11. Miami Redhawks

I know nothing about this team, other than their record and some stats. I am not going to bullcrap you with some stat mumbo-jumbo to pretend like I know what this team is about until I've had a chance to sit down and analyze them fairly.

10. Bowling Green Falcons

The women's version of the Falcons are pretty identical to the men’s version. They love the outside game. They can rebound, in spite of their size. They don’t win enough games. It is what it is.

9. Akron Zips

After watching the OU game, I was shocked these ladies were ranked down this far. They had a lot of heart when I watched them. There were a couple that looked like stars. Certainly there will be a learning curve for me.

8. Western Michigan Broncos

Now this ranking (again, largely based on RPI) really shocked me.

This is a big team that can wear you down in the middle. They play sound basketball and have a guard that can take it to the hoop at any time. Oh, and they are 13-3. Next week, when I am more versed, expect me to have them in the top 5.

7. Kent State Golden Flashes

I have no real impression of them, other than stats. Sorry, I promise to do better by next week.

6. Ball State Cardinals

I don’t remember watching them, even though I know I did. Nothing really stood out, but as I forewarned, it’s just one game. I’ll have an opinion of them next power rankings, I promise.

5. Toledo Rockets

Good team, with a couple of stat sheet stuffers. I’ll be looking to see how they gel as a team, though. Again, I am looking at two games and stats, so it’s not a complete picture. That being said, I am inclined to believe the Rockets aren’t a West contender, loaded as they are.

4. Central Michigan Chippewas

This team is lead by a short scoring machine. Oh boy, are they fun to watch. Their defense lacks, but they have multiple weapons. EXACTLY like the men’s team. I do think they are going to be more competitive than the men’s team, but not championship material quite yet.

3. Ohio Bobcats

Loaded team, with a lot of pieces. They were kind of missing something, though. The talent was there. The chemistry? We’ll see. I can’t put a finger on it, because it was one game. It could just be a fluke. I’ll let you know.

2. Northern Illinois

The most intriguing team I have seen so far in my limited experience. Sure the rallying around a sick teammate is a nice story, but they can play. Also interesting is their lack of defense. They play a funky little zone, with nice rotation, but it’s not their strong suit. Offensively, they were, by far, the best team I saw. Their point guard could control a game, though she made a lot of mistakes. By far, without the mistakes, she was the best player I saw this week. That’s what I think is the key for the entire team. Limit the mistakes, and wow.

1.Buffalo Bulls

Another team that I haven’t seen play yet, so I have no opinion. That being said, they won the conference last year. You have to respect that. I can assure you they will be the first team I watch the next chance I get.

I can’t wait to follow the women’s game the rest of the year and find out for myself.

Take the journey along with us.