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2021 MAC Men’s Basketball Power Rankings: End of January

Toledo establishes a firm hold on the MAC after a dominant week, but who are some of the other contenders?

NCAA Basketball: Bowling Green at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

With only five weeks left in conference play, the MAC is really starting to shape up and give a good preview of what we should see come March.

A handful of shocking results, and a few cancellations, have thrown expectations out the door, forcing us to rely upon the eye test as we get into the heart of the conference season.

Here’s a rundown of who’s hot, and who’s not as of the last week of January:

12. Western Michigan 2-11 (1-7)

Last week: L 58-81 Vs. Ohio | L 56-65 Vs. Miami

The Western Michigan Broncos are having a tough time this season. After opening the conference slate with a win over Central Michigan, the Broncos haven’t had much of any success on their way to a seven game losing streak. They played close against Miami, only losing by nine, but it’s still not a notch in the win column. Their game this week against Northern Illinois has already been canceled, leaving them with a game at Bowling Green as their only game this week.

11. Eastern Michigan 4-8 (1-7)

Last week: L 65-86 Vs. Akron

Eastern Michigan was in a very similar situation to Ball State. Their game against Northern Illinois got canceled, and they were left with just one game this week against Akron. The game against the Zips went as expected, and the Eagles didn’t really stand a chance. Eastern will look to work on their current four game losing streak this week as the host Bowling Green, then take a trip to Athens to face Ohio. They’ve only won one conference game this season, but surprisingly it was against Akron.

10. Northern Illinois 2-10 (1-6)

Last week: No games

The Huskies of Northern Illinois are in a tough spot right now. They haven’t played a single game since January 16th, a loss to Ball State. Their game on Tuesday against Western Michigan has already been canceled, and who knows if they’ll play Central.

9. Central Michigan 6-11 (2-8)

Last week: L 76-83 Vs. Buffalo | L 76-83 Vs. Akron

No, that’s not a typo, Central Michigan lost both their games this week by the exact same score. I guess the Chippewas will have to work on scoring 84 points if they’re going to give up 83 every game. Central is on a four game losing streak after a pair of losses this week, and is sitting at ninth in the conference. On the bright side, the Chippewas are the highest Michigan team in the standings. Central Michigan hosts Ohio and is scheduled to play Northern Illinois Saturday, should they be cleared to play.

8. Ball State 6-8 (4-5)

Last week: L 42-74 Vs. Akron

Ball State only played one game this week as their game against Kent State got cancelled. The one game against Akron was, well uh, tough. Playing a top team in the conference is never fun, and Ball State found that out with their 32 point loss. They sit down in eighth in the standings, but have a good chance to work their way up the standings with a game against seventh place Buffalo on Tuesday. They close out the week by hosting Toledo.

7. Buffalo 7-6 (5-4)

Last week: W 83-76 Vs. Central Michigan | L 75-76 Vs. Ohio

A so so week for the Bulls ends in a 1-1 record and a tough, nail biting loss to Ohio. Buffalo showed that maybe they can hang with the upper tier teams in the conference as they were a missed shot away from taking down the Bobcats. They’ll need to keep having strong performances from their starting five, as four hit double figures and they combined for 63 of their 75 points against Ohio. The Bulls make the trip to Muncie to play Ball State, then come back home to face Miami this week.

6. Bowling Green 10-6 (6-4)

Last week: L 91-96 Vs. Kent State | L 66-84 Vs. Toledo

I know, I know, the Falcons do still sit in fourth place in the conference, but these are power rankings, not standings, and the Falcons aren’t very powerful right now. A pair of losses, including getting handled by their archrivals in the battle of I-75, last week doesn’t look real good for Bowling Green. The Falcons should be able to rebound this week with a little softer schedule as they play Eastern and Western Michigan. They’ll need to pick it up quickly if they want to break the NCAA tournament drought.

5. Kent State 8-5 (5-4)

Last week: W 96-91 Vs. Bowling Green | W 83-76 Vs. Central Michigan

After a slow start to the season with Covid issues, the Kent State Golden Flashes have finally found their groove. Kent State was able to have an undefeated week, and a strong showing against a good team in Bowling Green. The Golden Flashes were able to get just their second road win of the season against Bowling Green, a win to send their conference record back to .500. The schedule doesn’t get easier for Kent State, as they host Miami, then take the short trip over to Akron this week.

4. Miami 8-5 (5-3)

Last week: L 81-90 Vs. Toledo | W 65-56 Vs. Western Michigan

The highest ranked team with a loss in the last week is the Miami RedHawks. The RedHawks had the tall task of hosting Toledo, in which they didn’t just roll over. Miami was able to make it a game, ultimately falling to the Rockets by nine. They found the win column on Saturday with a win over Western Michigan. The RedHawks sit at third place in the conference with trips to Kent State and Buffalo coming up in the next week.

3. Ohio 10-6 (6-4)

Last week: W 81-58 Vs. Western Michigan | W 76-75 Vs. Buffalo

The hottest team in the conference might just be the Ohio Bobcats. After starting 3-4 in conference play, the Bobcats have shot off to three straight wins, including a road win at Buffalo. The Bobcats have been led by Dwight Wilson, who scored 40 total points this week, 19 against Western Michigan and 21 against Buffalo. Ohio has a pair of directional schools on the docket for this week, as they travel to Mount Pleasant to play Central Michigan and host Eastern Michigan.

2. Akron 10-3 (8-2)

Last week: W 86-65 Vs. Eastern Michigan | W 74-42 Vs. Ball State

Another week, another sweep for the Zips as they handled both Eastern Michigan and Ball State. Akron finishes January with a six game win streak, dating back to their OT thriller against Toledo. The Zips showed some versatility off the bench as Camron Reece led the bench in scoring in both games, hitting double figures against EMU. They sit in second in the conference, but would be able to help themselves with a big win over Toledo on Tuesday.

#1 Toledo 15-4 (10-1)

Last week: W 90-81 Vs. Miami | W 84-66 Vs. Bowling Green

The Rockets just proved what we already knew this week. A tough looking week going into it, Toledo showed why they’re thought of as the favorite in the conference. Spencer Littleson has been the anchor for the Rockets, playing 38 and 36 minutes respectively in the games last week, by far the most on the team. After these wins, the true test for the Rockets is coming up on Tuesday as second place Akron comes to Savage Arena.