The AP poll came out today and in a bit of a surprise, Central Michigan was still getting three votes, while Buffalo had none. While that may seem like a bad deal for Buffalo, and it certainly may be, there is a silver lining. The reporters, who are loath to give the MAC any credit, think Central Michigan is a really good team. The Coaches poll comes out tomorrow. Last time around, the Chippewas had 17 points while the Bulls garnered 3. Since the Bulls were already on the radar of the coaches and they knocked off CMU, it just might be enough to propel them to a top 25 rankings. I don’t think it will be, but it will be close. NC State was 25 and had 41 points, to give you an idea of what needs to happen to make Buffalo a top 25 team.
However, for their remaining schedule, the Bulls play BGSU twice, at Kent, and hosting Ohio. If they can manage to win those, there is a really good chance they crack the top 25.
Regardless, the RPI has the Bulls at 15. As long as they don’t implode, the Bulls have a really good chance to make the NCAA with an at-large bid.
Now let’s examine Central Michigan’s place in the world. Even though they lost to the Bulls, the Chippewas actually climbed a spot to 27. On the one hand, the Chippwas have a much tougher road, with Ball State (40), Toledo (56), WMU and Northern Illinois. On the other, they will certainly crack the top 25 in the RPI if they manage to win out. Again, if Central Michigan can handle their business, they are still looking at a probable NCAA tournament birth, as long as they make the MAC tournament finals.
Even though a ranking might be out of the question for Ball State, who is sitting at 40 in the RPI, they have a chance at an at-large NCAA bid. They must win out until the finals, which would include a win in the regular season against CMU. That still wouldn’t guarantee an at-large, but there would be a chance.