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MAC Men’s Basketball Power Rankings: Dec. 11th, 2018

Things are looking up for Kent, among others!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kent State and UCLA Bruins Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Things are looking up for the Mid-American conference. A writer I respect, who writes about mid-majors and Kentucky in the SB Nation family, put three MAC schools in his top 25 of the mid majors.

While Kent just barely made it, and Toledo is barely in the top 20, it does show that the MAC is gaining attention around the nation.

The top third of the conference continues to roll, with a combined record of 34-4 The following two-thirds of the conference is not doing as well, with a 44-34 record. However, what’s great for those of us that like competition is that no team has really separated themselves in either a good or bad way. No MAC team has a losing record roughly 10 games into the season.

Going forward, I expect the top third to continue to play very good basketball. I expect a few teams to fall off out of the bottom third, but several more moving towards the top, making the top half of the conference formidable during conference play. My hope is that this separation will allow for a couple of gaudy records, which will give the MAC a decent chance at that second NCAA tournament bid.

Now, on to the rankings!

#12 Eastern Michigan Eagles

(5-5 overall)

I really don’t think the Eagles are the worst team in the conference, but at the same time they are only one of two teams with a .500 record. Even though they just demolished Central State, I couldn’t quite pull them out of the basement.

#11 Bowling Green Falcons

(5-5 overall)

In their last game out, the Falcons slapped around a solid Green Bay squad. The final score was 97-68. This team is centered around 3 players. IN this game, Demajeo Wiggins had 12 points and a Rodmanesque 19 rebounds. Dylan Frye scored 12 while Justin Turner dropped 25 with 6 assists. Frye can heat up from outside, and the other starters really didn’t do much. The bench did look good, but overall this team has more to give, inside and outside, of the top 3. Encouraging news, if you are a Falcons faithful.

#10 Western Michigan Broncos

(5-4 overall)

The Broncos are a team on the edge. There are a lot of things I like about the team, but they lack a continuity. While I’ve been down this road all three years that I have covered the MAC, this year it was probably more expected with the departure of Thomas Wilder. Per the usual, Coach Hawkins will coach them up, and by the end of the year this team will not be a team you want your favorite team facing off in the MAC tournament.

#9 Northern Illinois Huskies

(5-4 overall)

This is also a talented team that is looking to find their way a bit. In fact, I would say they are more talented, with the likes of Eugene German and Levi Bradley. That’s one reason I put them ahead of the Broncos, though it was close.

#8 Ball State Cardinals

(6-4 overall)

I fully expected this team to contend for a MAC title this season. Nothing has really changed. The Cardinals have played a tough non-conference schedule and face Valpo next. As I wrote in my intro, I expect multiple teams in bottom two thirds of the conference to really step up. While all of the teams are certainly capable, this one might shock me the least.

#7 Miami RedHawks

(6-4 overall)

Sometimes these rankings are very scientific and based on astute analysis. Sometimes, I place a team above the other team simply because they won their last game. That’s pretty much what I did here. Like Ball State, this team has some nice players and could easily work out the kinks come MAC play. Unlike Ball State, they won their last game.

#6 Akron Zips

(6-3 overall)

In their last game out, the Zips couldn’t hit while Purdue Fort Wayne did. With Akron, you are going to have some games they win because they were hitting, and some games they don’t because they aren’t. It’s a Groce life.

#5 Ohio Bobcats

(6-3 overall)

If I were the coach of the Bobcats, I would talk about the fantastic front court of the Bobcats, which they have. Since I am not, I would simply say that as goes sophomore Teyvion Kirk, so go the Bobcats. A coach shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on such a young man. The dynamic of this team is such that it needs him to perform well. As most young players, the sophomore is streaky. When he is down, the Bobcats are average. When he play well, they are exceptional.

#4 Central Michigan Chippewas

(8-2 overall)

I really like watching Larry Austin play. He is a small guard that mixes it up, without much of a shot. This actually might suit the team better than the Marcus Keene type, as they have several big men that can spot up after he drives and dishes. While the defense looked good early, however, they have given up some points lately. As long as the Chippewas fix that, they will be fine going into league play.

#3 Toledo Rockets

(9-1 overall)

I almost put the Rockets tied for two. They have great guard play and great big men. This team is really clicking. However, I had a really good reason to put Kent above them.

#2 Kent State Golden Flashes

(8-1 overall)

I put Kent above Toledo because they have a better loss. FML, I have turned into the playoff committee.

#1 Buffalo Bulls

(undefeated and ranked)

Thank goodness the number 1 spot was easy to decide, as I am crushed and need to reevaluate my entire life.