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2018-19 Eastern Michigan MAC Men’s Basketball Season Preview and Power Ranking

It’s time

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Michigan at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Eastern Michigan Eagles have been fairly successful in coach Rob Murphy’s tenure, winning 20 or more games in three of his 7 seasons. Last season, at least by win totals, was his best. The Eagles finished 22-13 and 11-7 in the MAC. They won a quarterfinal game in the MAC tournament and lost to Toledo in the semis by 1. They went on to win their first round game in the CIT as well. However, record isn’t everything. While the Eagles did turn it around at the end, there was a slump at the beginning of MAC play. Eastern Michigan could have been on pace for 25+ wins if that didn’t happen.

James Thompson IV came into Ypsilanti as a giant prospect, and has continued to grow each season. This will be his last season with the Eagles and if they are going to take advantage of such a talent that is ideal for the Rob Murphy scheme, then the clock is ticking. Time ran out for Tim Bond, as he was a senior last season and another personal favorite of mine, but there is still talent returning. 6’9 Elijah Minnie transferred in and was an immediate impact. He averaged 16.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. His season was streaky last season, and his biggest slump happened right about the start of the MAC season. Paul Jackson also returns and while he scored at a good clip, he missed a lot of shots. However, the Stone Mountain, Georgia product hit 42 % of his threes during his sophomore season at Eastern Kentucky.

That’s about it for returning talent. However, what a pile of talent it is. I am confident that JT IV will be one of, if not the most dominating player in the MAC. If Elijah Minnie brings more consistency and Paul Jackson brings better shot selection, I could see this team competing with Ball State and Buffalo for the MAC regular season crown. There is no doubt a hot streak by the team could result in a MAC tournament championship. That is why we have them third in the power rankings. If some other players step up, there is no doubt in my mind that they could be in the upper echelon of the MAC this season. In a normal season, I would predict this team to win 25+. However, since the MAC is loaded from top to bottom, they’ll probably be a little below that, but still over 20.