Over the last 2 seasons, it has been generally accepted that the MAC has been around the 7th best conference in the nation. Buffalo and Central Michigan has led that charge, but they certainly are not the only reason. Ohio and Miami were both listed in the first four out of the NCAA tournament, plus other teams have had their moments as well. While the Bulls and the Chippewas certainly lost a lot of talent, both teams and the conference as a whole return a bunch of great players. While some may be hoping the conference can hold on to that 7thish ranking, I am looking up.
The women’s basketball schedules are being announced, and there are plenty of opportunities for the MAC to increase both it’s regional and national footprint. While there are still plenty of MAC schools that have yet to finalize their schedules, their Big Ten counterparts are mostly done. Last season was a down one for the Big Ten and that is one reason why they provide the perfect opportunity to move up. They aren’t playing their best and they are still well regarded nationally.
The Michigan Wolverines were a tournament team last year and play 4 teams from our beloved conference in the month of November. Western Michigan on 8th could be exciting, as the Broncos play a methodical game that can wear anyone down. The Wolverines travel to the Akron area to take on both Kent and the Zips in the middle of the month for the Akron Classic. However the most interesting game on the Wolverines schedule, at least to me, is their contest against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, in Ypsilanti. The Eagles are poised for a breakout season under coach Castro and a win over Michigan would certainly boost the resume’. The Eagles also take on the Michigan State Spartans on Nov. 5th, which could prove to be a great momentum builder.
Another MAC team I have high hopes for in 2019-20 are the Ohio Bobcats. They take on instate foe Ohio State, which has a large national footprint and is also on a downturn. An emphatic win on November 17th could announce to the nation that the Bobcats are the best team in the state, though Miami might have something to say about that later...
One team from the MAC that has already announced their schedule, the Chippewas, and they are loaded with mid-major powers. They also take on a Louisville squad that has been highly ranked recently. A schedule this loaded with tough games provides the perfect platform to please the national pundits. They can shout, “We are here to stay in the national spotlight!”
Back in the olden days, when the MAC was a one bid league, you could afford to just wait for the conference tournament. However, with the recent successes, every game matters. For the conference to continue the two bid streak, or build upon it, they must have a few big wins in the non-conference schedule.