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Bowling Green, Toledo voted as division winners in 2019-20 MAC men’s basketball preseason polls

The close-quarter rivals will have a lot to do with the direction of the MAC basketball in 2019.

NCAA Basketball: Toledo at Buffalo Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Mid-American Conference released its preseason polls regarding men’s basketball on Thursday morning, naming the Bowling Green Falcons and Toledo Rockets as the favorites to win their respective divisions.

The Falcons were declared the favorites to win in the MAC East, and are in great position to do so, with four starters and 10 letterwinners from last season’s MAC Tournament runner-up squad returning to the action in 2019. The Falcons placed their starting backcourt in Dylan Frye and Justin Turner on the preseason all-MAC East team, and have one of the most experienced head coaches in the MAC in Michael Huger at the helm for his fifth year.

The Rockets, meanwhile, were selected to win the MAC West over NIU and Ball State. Toledo will be without one of their best players in AJ Edu (ACL tear suffered in offseason), but still return a litany of weapons in preseason all-MAC West teamers Marreon Jackson and Luke Knapke, as well as several transfers and true freshmen who could make immediate impacts. Tod Kowalcyzk, the MAC’s most experienced coach, is still seeking to lead the Rockets to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his decade-long tenure.

The rest of the preseason division tables look as follows:

MAC East (first place votes in parenthesis)

  • Bowling Green: 69 (nine)
  • Buffalo: 58 (three)
  • Kent State: 43
  • Miami: 37
  • Akron: 33
  • Ohio: 12

MAC West (first place votes in parenthesis)

  • Toledo: 69 (11)
  • Northern Illinois: 52
  • Ball State: 51 (one)
  • Central Michigan: 41
  • Western Michigan: 23
  • Eastern Michigan: 16

Bowling Green was also selected to win the MAC Tournament with a solid majority by MAC head coaches, with six votes. Other schools to garner support inlcude Miami, NIU and Buffalo.