We are almost a month into the college basketball season and there is some encouraging news from several of the ranking services. While no MAC team has cracked the top 25, or are even receiving votes in the two major polls, some of the teams are climbing up the computer rankings, which is good news.
The Buffalo Bulls have climbed up to number 19 in the RPI. While the committee no longer officially uses the ranking as a way to come up with their at-large bids, they are still an important part of the process. A top 25 ranking in the RPI doesn’t guarantee an at-large bid, however it’s usually a good indicator. The Bulls have a huge game coming up against Saint Johns on December 21st. The Red Storm are currently 5-2, with their only losses coming against ranked teams. They are ranked 10th in the RPI.
At number 33, the Toledo Rockets are also in a nice position. They made the tournament last year as the automatic qualifier, so they will benefit from name recognition. Their non-conference schedule isn’t as tough as the Bulls, so they don’t have as much margin for error. So far their only loss is to Louisville, which is currently ranked number 3 in the RPI.
Ball State is undefeated, and currently ranked 60th. Their schedule hasn’t really provided them the opportunity to climb any higher. They do have a solid Western Kentucky team coming up, though.
The Central Michigan Chippewas are the next highest at 67. A loss in the first game of the season to Purdue was a real heart-breaker, and affects this ranking a great deal. All is not lost, however, because of the over all strength of the conference.
Virtually the entire MAC has been playing well in the non-conference and this could help come tournament time. There are still some big games left. CMU takes on Quinnipiac the same day Buffalo takes on Saint Johns. Ohio has Purdue on their schedule and Kent will face Michigan.
It’s still early in the season, but with continued success in the non-conference schedule, the MAC just might be able to get an at-large bid or two into the NCAA tournament.