Once again, the MAC is loaded this women’s basketball season. In the East, the top three teams combine for a 29-4 record, while possibly the best team (Buffalo) is sitting at 8-3 and 4th. The best overall team just might be in the West. Central Michigan is 9-3, but has enough street cred to be receiving votes in both the AP and Coach’s poll.
The wildly varying schedules make these non-conference rankings a relative shot in the dark. They are mostly the good old fashioned eye test, mixed in with record, because I just cannot ignore wins and losses.
#12 Ball State Cardinals
The Cardinals struggled to score early this season. They have fixed that problem, scoring over 86 in their last 3 games, while racking up three consecutive wins. They head to Toledo in their conference opener, which will be a good test to see just how much this team has improved.
#11 Western Michigan Broncos
Winners of 4 of their last 5, the Broncos are a good team. They had a rough opening schedule, and quite frankly are only sitting at 11 because of the 5 loses. I thought seriously about having a tie for 7th place, that’s how bunched up the middle of the conference is. While I don’t see the Broncos contending for the MAC crown, I could potentially envision them being at the top of that second tier.
#10 Bowling Green Falcons
The Falcons look much improved under new head coach Robyn Fralick and have won their last 4 contests. None of those wins was particularly impressive, so there is difficulty in figuring out just how improved they are. Freshman Morgan McMillen is leading the team in scoring, so there should be much optimism for the future for falcon faithful. At 17.1 ppg, opposing fans should be filled with fear.
#9 Eastern Michigan Eagles
The Eagles are a good team in a tough conference. The only reason they are this low is because they have lost 2 out of their last 3, while most of the rest on the conference is on a bit of a winning streak. However, their comeback bid against Butler should put the rest of the conference on notice. Take this team lightly, no matter how good you are, and you just might lose.
#8 Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent state plays good defense, but needs to work on their offense. Over the long haul of the season, the ball might stop dropping, while defense is eternal.
#7 Northern Illinois Huskies
I honestly don’t really know what to think of this team. There is a ton of talent on the roster and they can score. They gave up over 100 in their last outing, but won the game. That makes my Midwestern brain hurt.
#6 Toledo Rockets
The Rockets have won 6 of their last 7, with their only loss coming to national power Notre Dame. They have shown some similarities of the team that made the tournament a few years ago. Not the greatest scorers, but gutty. Coach Tricia Cullop still has a few months to get them ready, so while I would be a bit shocked for them to win the West, I would not be shocked if they made another deep MAC tournament run.
#5 Akron Zips
There are some questions surrounding this team, but it is difficult to argue with 9-2. How this team ends up might be the most interesting story of the season.
#4 Miami RedHawks
This is where the cream really rises to the top of a cream filled league. They are a bad one point loss away from being 10-1 headed into conference play. Lauren Dickerson is one of the best players in a league filled will great players, and the job Megan Duffy has done in just a season and a third is amazing.
#3 Buffalo Bulls
The Bulls went to the sweet 16 a year ago, and really have not skipped much of a beat. Cierra Dillard is one of the best players in the country. Felisha Legette-Jack is one of the best coaches in the country. Losing Stephanie Reid and Cassie Oursler was going to lead to some issues, however. Those issues will probably be resolved by the end of the season, and no one in the country, let alone the MAC, will want to face this team come tournament time.
#2 Central Michigan Chippewas
Like the Bulls, the Chippewas made the Sweet 16 last season. Like the Bulls, the Chippewas have a great coach. Like the Bulls, the Chippewas don’t have one of the best players in the country. They have two of them. Presley Hudson and Reyna Frost are two of the best players in the country. They also have sophomore Micaela Kelly, who has also shown the potential to be one of the best players in the history of the MAC. Buffalo is on an historic run. This team might be on a little bit more of an historic run.
#1 Ohio Bobcats
The Bobcats are undefeated and actually a quite good basketball team. Their days at number 1 might be numbered. They head to Buffalo, before hosting Central Michigan. If they lose both those games, then they are still a good basketball team and a contender for the MAC. Especially if the games are close. Split, and they are a legitimate top 25 team. Win both, and they should honestly be in the top 10.